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LINGUIST List 21.4712

Tue Nov 23 2010

Diss: Applied Ling: Couper: 'Teaching and Learning L2 Pronunciation...'

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        1.     Graeme Couper , Teaching and Learning L2 Pronunciation: Understanding the effectiveness of socially constructed metalanguage and critical listening in terms of a cognitive phonology framework

Message 1: Teaching and Learning L2 Pronunciation: Understanding the effectiveness of socially constructed metalanguage and critical listening in terms of a cognitive phonology framework
Date: 22-Nov-2010
From: Graeme Couper <graeme.couperaut.ac.nz>
Subject: Teaching and Learning L2 Pronunciation: Understanding the effectiveness of socially constructed metalanguage and critical listening in terms of a cognitive phonology framework
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Institution: University of New England
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Graeme Couper

Dissertation Title: Teaching and Learning L2 Pronunciation: Understanding the effectiveness of socially constructed metalanguage and critical listening in terms of a cognitive phonology framework

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Elizabeth Ellis
Helen Fraser

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates the processes learners go through in learning the
pronunciation of a second language, and how teachers can facilitate these
processes. Its focus on the cognitive has led to the development of general
teaching principles and the development of theory. It brings theory and
practice together by using practice to inform theory and theory to
re-inform practice. A broad multi-disciplinary approach has been taken,
drawing on insights from phonology and L2 speech research, pronunciation
pedagogy, and theoretical insights from SLA (Second Language Acquisition),
socio-cultural theory and educational psychology, and bringing these
together under a unifying theory of Cognitive Phonology.

The empirical evidence to support both the theoretical and practical
conclusions reached is provided through a progressive series of qualitative
and quantitative studies. These studies all focus on difficulties in
pronouncing syllable codas, i.e. epenthesis (the addition of a vowel) and
absence (inappropriate omission of a consonant), in the context of adult
high-intermediate level ESOL students resident in New Zealand.

The first study explores the effect of different techniques and learners'
ways of understanding pronunciation, and establishes some of the groundwork
required before critical variables can be isolated, defined and tested. The
second study takes a group of just four students and closely observes how
they form new phonological concepts. This leads to the isolation of
variables for further investigation. Both of these studies find that
significant progress is made and retained over time. The third study tests
experimentally for the effect of two key variables isolated and defined in
the second study: Socially Constructed Metalanguage (SCM) and Critical
Listening (CL). This tightly controlled study finds both variables have a
positive impact on pronunciation learning.

This thesis finds there is a role for form-focused instruction and
corrective feedback in pronunciation learning. While this is in line with
many views within SLA theory, it is only by turning to Cognitive Phonology
that the necessary distinctions can be drawn between types of instruction
in order to reveal what it is that makes explicit instruction effective.
These theoretical insights are shown to have practical applications for the
classroom.



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