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Repeat after me: Mississippi, Mississippi, Mississippi - A study into the use of teaching articulatory setting differences in secondary education

By Eliene Gritter


It has often been argued that the teaching of L2 articulatory settings will improve learners’ L2 pronunciation. However, although many impressionistic accounts have been written on the subject, only few empirical studies have been conducted to test these assumptions. Additionally, most of the accounts on AS in language teaching focus on motivated adult language learners. The present study set out to test the effectiveness of teaching AS differences to Dutch secondary school pupils in order to improve their pronunciation of English. Four AS lessons were given to a group of secondary school pupils; a control group received four lessons about segmental differences. All pupils were recorded individually while doing a picture description task both before and after instruction. Native speaker judges then assessed their English pronunciation proficiency. Although no sifnificant differences were found between pre and post instruction pronunciation profiency in both groups as a whole, there were a number of pupils in both groups that did improve their pronunciation. These results might be explained by Dynamic Systems Theory. Because all language learners react differently to certain stimuli, a mixed approach to pronunciation teaching, in which the teaching of AS is included, might be most usefull to improve pupils’ L2 pronunciation.

Year: 2010
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