Pronunciation Is Everywhere
The knowledge system that humans use to process language in their everyday lives is complex. It contains several subdomains, such
as knowledge of syntax, vocabulary, phonology, morphology, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. While these areas are often considered separately for the purpose of linguistic and theoretical investigation, they are all interwoven in the complex task of processing language, including behaviors such as recognizing words, understanding utterances, formulating appropriate answers, talking to a stranger on the phone, finding a way to say something difficult to somebody, or writing a response to an email. It is important to first establish that in this knowledge system, every domain is intertwined, and the influence of phonology goes beyond the behaviors related to speaking or to listening....
Pronunciation (and listening) practice also enhances writing. It can reduce spelling mistakes that are due to inaccurate pronunciation (and vice versa, reduce pronunciation errors based on spelling, see Prator, 1971);
...research on the bilingual mental lexicon (Broersma & Cutler, 2011; Darcy, Daidone, & Kojima, 2013), which suggests that L2 learners often have inaccurate long-term memories (or phonolexical representations) for the words in their L2
. While they may clearly know the words in terms of their meaning and usage patterns, the phonological form may be encoded with a lack of precision: That is, learners’ phonolexical representations of words may be lacking some detail, or be fuzzy...
Here, typical methods that provide the repetition necessary for automaticity to develop (drills, minimal pair repetition, discrimination) fail to promote generalization because of the highly decontextualized nature of the repeated materials (Segalowitz & Hulstijn, 2005). In other words, explicit focus on form in pronunciation instruction is useful (Gordon & Darcy, 2016), but it is not sufficient on its own, as suggested by the three example frameworks mentioned previously. Integration with meaning or with the broader context of the activity also matters. As Park (2000) found, form-focused instruction helped, but learners receiving both form and meaning-focused instruction demonstrated more improvement than the form-focused group. Pronunciation instruction thus needs to guide learners toward deploying a simultaneous focus on both form (or accuracy) and meaning (or communicative context) at once.
As mentioned previously, research has shown that the way learners memorize the form of L2 words differs from that of native speakers. Fuzzy or imprecise word representations might lead to problems in both word recognition (Broersma & Cutler, 2008; Cutler, 2005) and production (Simonchyk, 2017). Even though research showing specifically how pronunciation instruction can enhance phonological representations in memory is not yet available, a few directions for listening practice are nevertheless promising.
1. Contextualized and repeated links to vocabulary items
(rather than practicing perception of a difficult contrast using
nonsense syllables only, or two unknown words, for instance);
2. Variability (e.g., by presenting a variety of voices, contexts,
speech rates, utterance lengths); and
3. Multimodal input (e.g., by using audio and written, or audio
and video input modalities).
Specific examples on how to adapt listening practice in these three ways are detailed below. To be effective, practice on perception needs to go beyond isolated “listen and repeat” (Yoshida, 2016), but it does not necessarily require spending hours having students do discrimination tasks. Therefore, perception work should be contextualized by establishing links to the meaning of vocabulary items, and ideally it should provide ample opportunity for repetition and reactivation by presenting items multiple times. Kimppa (2017) presents evidence that repetition is an effective way to enhance the quality of word representations in memory. This kind of work will naturally tie in with teaching listening (Cauldwell, 2013), but it can also be integrated with vocabulary teaching, depending on learners’ proficiency...
Insecurity about the effectiveness of teaching pronunciation also depends on the goals of instruction. If the goal is for all learners to achieve a nativelike accent in all situations all of the time, then it is unlikely that even very intensive pronunciation instruction is going to truly work. But if the goal is more attainable, then pronunciation instruction becomes more effective. "http://www.catesoljournal.org/wp-conten ... _darcy.pdf