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First things first: exploring Spanish students' attitudes towards learning pronunciation in Australia



The number of Spanish students in Australia is increasing. This growth coincides with a period of revival in the teaching and learning of pronunciation in the foreign language classroom. However, unlike their peers in the UK and especially in the US, no specific materials are available for Australian students. In order to assist them, the first essential step must be examining their attitudes and beliefs, which is necessary to recognise the ways in which they conceive of learning pronunciation and thus shape further work, as the literature has long established. Therefore, we analyse here the results of an anonymous survey distributed among Australian university students of Spanish. The results show positive attitudes and loci of control towards the subject but also reveal the need for strengthening awareness and a number of tensions where action is still needed in order to ensure adequate pedagogical procedure for pronunciation success.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The
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First things first: Exploring Spanish Students’ Attitudes towards
Learning Pronunciation in Australia
William Steed1 and Manuel Delicado Cantero2
1College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
2 School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, Australian National University,
Canberra, Australia
Corresponding author:
Manuel Delicado Cantero
School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
Baldessin Precinct Building, Room W3.08
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia
Phone: +61 2 6125 5134
First things first: Exploring Spanish Students’ Attitudes towards
Learning Pronunciation in Australia
The number of Spanish students in Australia is increasing. This growth coincides
with a period of revival in the teaching and learning of pronunciation in the
foreign language classroom. However, unlike their peers in the UK and
especially in the USA, no specific materials are available for Australian students.
In order to assist them, the first essential step must be examining their attitudes
and beliefs, which is necessary to recognise the ways in which they conceive of
learning pronunciation and thus shape further work, as the literature has long
established. Therefore, we analyse here the results of an anonymous survey
distributed among Australian university students of Spanish. The results show
positive attitudes and loci of control towards the subject but also reveal the need
for strengthening awareness and a number of tensions where action is still needed
in order to ensure adequate pedagogical procedure for pronunciation success.
Keywords: pronunciation; attitudes; Spanish; Australia; students
Recent approaches in L2/FL (foreign language) teaching and learning have reclaimed
the substantial role of proper pronunciation teaching and learning in the classroom. This
revival has developed after a period of neglect caused by the (well-intentioned) move
away from emphasis on native-like accuracy goals of older frameworks towards an
emphasis on communicative efficiency in the target language, especially in the early
Communicative Method (Arteaga 2000; Barrera 2004; Celce-Murcia et al. 2010;
Derwing and Munro 2005; Elliott 2003; Gil 2007; Llisterri 2003; Mellado 2012; Poch
1999; Santamaría 2007a).
The change develops at a moment when the number of students studying
Spanish in Australia is growing (Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte de España
[MECD] 2012: 58-61). In 2011 there were approximately 16000 students of Spanish in
primary and secondary levels of education (MECD 2012: 58). At university level, about
half of the Australian universities have a Spanish program of some description (MECD
2012: 60). More importantly, the number of university students of Spanish in 2011 had
increased by around 2000 students since 2009 (MECD 2012: 60). It is necessary to meet
the needs of these students, who have traditionally not received as much attention as
their peers in the USA or the UK, as evidenced by the lack of materials designed
specifically for them (Steed and Delicado 2014).
As a first step towards closing this pedagogical gap, it is important to gauge the
beliefs students have surrounding pronunciation teaching. These beliefs and their
resulting attitudes (Pajares 1992) allow best practice in developing new resources to
support the teaching of Spanish pronunciation in Australia.
Previous literature on students’ attitudes towards L2/FL pronunciation
teaching and learning
Wenden (1998: 530) asserts that teachers should try to gain an understanding of their
learners’ beliefs and acquired knowledge about language learning’, because in the end
these views will shape and therefore affect their learning (Cenoz and García 1999: 5;
Verdía 2010: 226-227). As Horwitz (1988: 292) points out, we must disabuse students
of deleterious misconceptions about language learning before they can become effective
self-directed students’. She emphasizes the need for teachers to redirect their students’
views of learning a foreign language. Given the limited presence of pronunciation in the
classroom, this task is of the utmost importance in our area (see Nowacka 2012: 46).
Following the conceptual discussion in Pajares (1992) regarding the disparate
uses of concepts such as belief, knowledge and attitude in FL/L2 research, we aim to
study the sum of beliefs which form our students’ attitudes towards learning
pronunciation when studying a foreign language. In this sense, we follow Dalton-Puffer
et al. (1997) in regarding them as ‘composites of a number of cognitive, emotive and/or
conative factors They are mental constructs acquired through experience,
predisposing a person to certain feelings and reactions in response to certain situations,
persons or objects’ (Dalton-Puffer et al. 1997: 116). We understand our students’
attitudes as equivalent to metacognitive knowledge (Wenden 1998) or learner beliefs
(Horwitz 1988), among other similar concepts available in the literature (see Wenden
1998: 516). It is the student counterpart of Borg’s (2003) teacher cognition.
Much of the research on students’ attitudes specifically towards teaching and
learning pronunciation focuses on English as a foreign language (EFL). Derwing (2003)
finds that students believe that pronunciation is a critical part of communication. While
her informants signal particular segments as problematic, they provide very little
feedback on prosody, which she argues may be due to a lack of awareness of prosodic
issues, perhaps because they are rarely taught’ (Derwing 2003: 559). The results in
Nowacka (2012) are likewise clear in reporting students’ positive view towards good
(English) pronunciation (see also Barrera 2004: 12-14).
Calvo (2013: 46-47), also on EFL, reports that the students believed that their
main problems were spelling discrepancies, lack of fluency and segments, had a
negative view of the role of pronunciation in their textbooks, and desired to have other
types of pronunciation activities. She remarks the lack of adequate practice and time
devoted to pronunciation, as has been widely noted in the literature (Arteaga 2000;
Celce-Murcia et al. 2010; Gil 2007; Mellado 2012: 20; Poch 1999).
Compared to the number of studies on students’ attitudes towards teaching and
learning English pronunciation, much less attention has been devoted to Spanish (see,
for instance, the brief comments in Elliott 1995: 366), including, to our knowledge,
Australia. In this article we aim to contribute to filling this gap by analysing the views
of Australian university students regarding general issues about Spanish pronunciation
and the degree of difficulty that some sounds pose on them.
In order to obtain information about students’ attitudes, we distributed an anonymous
online survey to all enrolled students in the Spanish program at a major Australian
university using the university’s polling platform, which ensured anonymity and
privacy. Students were clearly informed that participation was optional and that taking
part had no impact on whichever Spanish class they were enrolled in. The survey was
designed to take 5-10 minutes to complete. It was available for two months. The results
were processed using the polling platform’s tools and downloaded into an Excel form
for analysis using descriptive statistics.
Sixty three students at different proficiency levels of Spanish responded. To
preserve anonymity, the survey only asked basic information regarding their linguistic
background, that is, their native speaker status in Spanish and English and the number
of semesters they had been taking Spanish. These questions were included on the
assumption that the degree of exposure to the language can affect their attitude towards
learning pronunciation.
The survey included 33 questions in English (to avoid any misunderstandings).
The main topics addressed were:
concrete beliefs about pronunciation in Spanish language teaching;
the relative difficulty of specific Spanish segmental phonemes or groups of
phonemes in non-technical language to avoid misunderstanding; and
a final open-ended question where they were invited to comment freely on the
difficulties of learning Spanish pronunciation (in English or Spanish).
In each case, students responded on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly agree
to strongly disagree (for beliefs), or very easy to very difficult (for relative difficulty of
phonemes). The 5-point scale allowed for an intermediate or undefined point in between
(ambivalent/don’t know or neutral), rather than forcing them to choose.
We organized the questions around three core areas (and an open-ended question), the
three main areas that we aimed to explore at this stage:
(1) Perception of self: the self-perception of their pronunciation skills.
(2) Perception of importance: the degree of importance good pronunciation entails
for them.
(3) Perception of ease: the degree of difficulty Spanish pronunciation poses on
(4) Other information (open-ended question).
With these selected areas we tackle and observe students’ issues dealing with internal
and external loci of control (Verdía 2010). Moreover, some questions revolve around
similar topics with different words to ensure that students have understood the questions
and have not provided random answers.
Table 1 summarizes the answers to the first set of questions:
Table 1. Perception of self, ease and importance (percentages rounded to whole
The first question inquired about the students’ self-evaluation of their command
in Spanish pronunciation. More than two thirds (68%) have a positive self-perception
regarding their confidence pronouncing Spanish, which is in line with the fact that a
high percentage (78%) also consider that Spanish is easy to pronounce.
Likewise, 63% feel that they are aware of how to improve their pronunciation,
with 78% of the participants affirming that they could do so by listening to native
The aforementioned results contrast sharply with the fact that half of the
students (54%) nevertheless indicate that they do not know how to pronounce certain
words. A slightly higher percentage of them (56%) report to find some Spanish words to
be very difficult to pronounce.
Seventy-one per cent of the students think that they can make themselves
understood. The percentage decreases sharply when the question is formulated from the
point of view of the listener, as only 41% of them disagree with the assertion that
Spanish speakers sometimes do not understand them. Thirty-two per cent of them
actually agree that that is indeed the case. A relatively high number (27%) report
ambivalence or not knowing. This matches the large amount of students (57%) who
claim to be ambivalent or not know when asked whether Spanish speakers often
compliment their Spanish. The low number of Spanish speakers in Australia, compared
to North America, for example, may lower students’ opportunities to interact with
Spanish speakers.
A majority of the students report having sufficient opportunity for practice in
I am confident in my pronunciation
Spanish is easy to pronounce
The class textbook has a lot of information
about pronunciation
Good pronunciation isn’t an essential part of
learning Spanish
I know how to improve pronunciation
I have sufficient opportunity to learn good
pronunciation in class
Some Spanish words are very difficult to
My pronunciation isn’t good enough to make
myself understood.
Spanish speakers often compliment my
Sometimes people don’t understand me when I
speak Spanish
It is important to have good pronunciation in
I can improve my pronunciation by listening to
lots of different types of Spanish
class (67%). Furthermore, this contrasts with their view on the input available in their
textbooks since 52% of the students are aware of the lack of proper materials.
Importantly, 25% of the students report themselves as ambivalent or not knowing.
Finally, the answers relating to perception of importance are very clear: they
overwhelmingly (98%) agree that good pronunciation is important.
Table 2 summarizes the answers about specific groups of segments. This section
adds specific information on perception of ease or difficulty of some well-known cases
consistently reported in the literature on Spanish as a foreign language (see Gil 2007,
2012; Hualde 2005; Schwegler et al. 2010):
Table 2. Perception of ease/difficulty of specific sounds (percentages rounded to whole
The highest scores for difficult/very difficult sounds are the vibrants (/r/ and /rr/)
(52%), the separation between the letters <b> and <v> (43% find it difficult to use the
same sound for both), the velar fricative /x/ (33%) and <y> and <ll> (22%). The highest
scores for easy/very easy sounds are /b d g/ (84% in initial position; 72% in non-initial
positons), initial /p t k/ (79%), nasals (87%), /r/ vs /d/ (70%) and vowels (80%).
Discussion and teaching implications
Foundations already in place
Positive attitude and motivation
Students overwhelmingly hold a positive attitude towards the need for pronunciation
learning improvement. This result is in line this with previous research (Calvo 2013: 47;
Derwing 2003: 555; both for EFL). Students tend to see pronunciation training as
beneficial (Barrera 2004: 12; Lord 2005: 565). This result is important since motivation
and other positive affective reactions are essential for successful learning (Arnold and
Brown 2006).
This positive outcome sharply contrasts with usual practices in the classroom, where
pronunciation is not properly attended to (Arteaga 2000; Aurrecoechea 2002; Elliott
2003; Morin 2007; Usó 2009; and Derwing and Munro 2005 and MacDonald 2002 for
EFL). The students’ positive attitude needs to encounter appropriate classroom practices
(all quotes are reproduced as entered):
R vs. rr (i.e. pero vs
Initial b, d, g (e.g.
bote, dos, gato)
Final r (e.g. comer,
G, j, q and c (i.e.
gato vs. gente;
queso vs. casa)
Initial p, t and k
(e.g. patata,
tomate, kilo)
/s/ (i.e. <c> and
Non-initial /b d g/
Not pronouncing b
and v differently
(e.g. bote and
Ll and l
R vs d (e.g. todo
vs. toro)
Y and ll
Very easy
I think that teachers heavily expose us to listening to spanish, however we do not
necessarily practice reading or speaking spanish out loud and being corrected.
Positive self-evaluation
The majority of the students hold a positive internal locus of control and a positive
evaluation of themselves; they claim to be happy with the results and to be in control of
their learning of pronunciation. This positivity is an opportunity for teachers to tap into
existing motivation to assist students in their learning.
Incipient awareness
Several students indicate that their previous experience with multiple languages, either
as a native speaker or as a student learning at school, helps them construct their
pronunciation in Spanish. This may stem either from similarities between one non-
English language and Spanish, or from recognizing the difference between English and
another language and therefore expecting them in Spanish:
It is easier for me because I speak [deleted] and [deleted], both of which use the
same pronounciations as Spanish (eg with regards to 't', 'p', 'c' etc). I can see why it
would be difficult for native English speakers though.
This quote shows the student’s indirect awareness of the phonological differences, and
even allophonic differences between languages. Having already noticed that other
languages are pronounced differently from English, a student may be more likely to
accept other differences in Spanish.
At the same time, some interference may be unproductive, as these students
I find the pronunciation the hardest because I also do [deleted], so when i read a
spanish word I often say it with a [deleted] accent which doesn't work!!!
Having previous learnt [deleted], it is difficult to steer away from the [deleted] way
of pronouncing things as it has been so ingrained into my brain. However, it hasn't
been impossible.
These students recognise transference between multiple L2s, and demonstrate that they
reflect on the difficulty of maintaining more than one L2 phonology.
Strengthening the foundations
Perception of ease of Spanish pronunciation
The high percentage of students who find Spanish easy to pronounce in this study seem
to agree with many teachers, as the perception that Spanish is easy to pronounce has
long been pinpointed as a recurring factor working against teaching and learning of
pronunciation. As Dalbor (1980: 1-2), Poch (2004: 1-2) and Mellado (2012: 21-22)
have repeatedly remarked, this perception is distorted, particularly because it is
normally tied to spelling and to lack of awareness about the nature of pronunciation.
Despite the enthusiasm, current research has shown that the results for
pronunciation tend to be lower than ideal (for example, Serradilla 2000 with regard to
Anglo-American students visiting Spain), to a great extent due to lack of proper
teaching opportunities (as many of the surveyed students notice). Australian students
are no different (Delicado, Steed, and Herrero 2014; Steed, Herrero and Delicado 2014).
In this sense, it is important to work with feasible but concrete goals for pronunciation.
As current research supports, achieving a socially acceptable, comfortable intelligibility
is the goal (Mellado 2012: 18-19), with intelligibility as part of a scale students will
move up through as they advance (Mellado 2012: 18-19; see also the Common
European Framework of Reference for Languages [CEFR] (Council of Europe 2001:
117) for an evaluation proposal).
Pronunciation and spelling
Students (and teachers) tend to think of Spanish pronunciation as easy due to the
common and inexact idea that Spanish letters correspond clearly with sounds, unlike
English (Delicado and Steed under review; Mellado 2012: 21-22; Orta 2009). This is
what we find in our survey. The students comment on their problems with accent marks,
<b> vs. <v>, word pronunciation, etc. There is very little input beyond segmentals and
spelling issues. Two students comment:
The biggest difficulty would have to be pronouncing g because the pronunciation
of the letter varies in terms of where it is placed in the word. Another thing is the
use of accents in some words, I do not understand how it affects the pronunciation
of the word.
The most difficult part of Spanish pronunciation is when letters have accents.
While training in spelling and reading is most necessary, they are different skills from
pronunciation, and students and teachers need to be made aware of this (Mellado 2012:
The nature of learning pronunciation
As mentioned above, students’ perceptions of ease and self are important in moulding
their attitudes towards the language, their method to study and their conceptualization of
what it is to pronounce correctly. For instance, for a student who equates reading and
pronouncing, being able to associate letters with sounds will be sufficient, in spite of
being completely unaware of allophones, prosody, etc.
Another relevant example has to do with the students’ positive view towards
their own ability to learn a positive internal locus of control. As shown above, they
highly agree that listening to native speakers helps, in line with the results in Nowacka
(2012) for EFL (Nowacka 2012: 50). However, students on their own will not
necessarily benefit as much as they could from exposure to Spanish unless they are
properly guided in their listening. In some cases students will not perceive sounds
correctly and thus may not be able to produce them, that is, they may be phonologically
deaf to certain sounds (Llisterri 2003). As Llisterri (2003: 94) points out, learning must
be accompanied by adequate analysis of studentsneeds, including informed attention
to contrastive linguistics (Herrero and Andión 2011, 2012a, 2012b; Iruela 2004: 53-66;
Mellado 2012: 32;), in combination with an adequate and integrative syllabus which
moves from perception to production (Gil 2007: 164-169; Mellado 2012: 33-35).
In sum, the students’ attitudes are formed on the basis of their understanding of
what pronunciation entails. In this respect, research has shown that the very nature of
pronunciation goes beyond oral expression to include other aspects, most importantly
the development of perception (Iruela 2007; Usó 2009). As Mellado (2012: 13) puts it,
pronunciation cannot be subsumed as a secondary tool for oral expression but rather it
must include attention to the interpretation of discourse and the negotiation between the
interlocutors related to the discourse. If students consider correct production of words
and sounds (i.e. oro-motor skills) as the sole goal of ‘pronunciation’, they may disregard
or be unaware of the other components.
Time in class and textbooks
As shown in table 1 above, 67% of the students report to have sufficient practice during
class time. However, we suspect that they may be equating oral practice with
pronunciation practice.
It has been reported that even some teachers consider that specific attention to
pronunciation is unnecessary, as they argue that students will learn this skill by
speaking in class or when they visit a Spanish-speaking country (Delicado and Steed
under review; Orta 2009: 65; Usó 2008: 121). We have already commented that
speaking, understood as oral production, is but one of the components in pronunciation.
The literature on the positive effects of studying abroad also remarks that such periods
overseas must come hand in hand with proper previous knowledge (see, for instance,
Gil 2007: 108-109).
Many students report that their textbook does not contain sufficient
pronunciation material. The focus on communicative strategies, with pronunciation
improvement and accuracy commonly disregarded, is reflected on the kind of exercises
available in the most widely used Spanish textbooks (Ahumada 2010: 74-93;
Aurrecoechea 2002: 52-53; Carbó et al. 2003: 174-175). The lack of proper materials in
the classroom may also alter students’ attitudes towards learning pronunciation: not
seen, ergo not necessary.
The reality of the language
Pluricentric languages such as Spanish do not have one native model (not including L2
models). While certain well-known aspects of lexicon and grammar variation in the
Spanish-speaking world are covered in textbooks (e.g., voseo), appropriate
pronunciation training helps students make sense of the oral variation of the language,
even in the classroom. Dialectal awareness is essential to improving students’ cultural
knowledge. Consider the following comment from one of our surveyed students:
It can be difficult to choose between the different types of pronunciation
encountered in the variety of accents of our teachers. It's fun though :).
Focus on vibrants
As table 2 shows, the students surveyed in this study perceive these sounds, especially
the trill [r], as the most difficult sound (52% of them):
I have found the most difficult sound to acquire is the 'rr' trill as in 'perro'. I am
improving, but I still find it hard to produce a consistent sound. When I learned
Spanish in high school for two years, I could not make the trill sound at all.
While the results would invite the conclusion that teachers should focus heavily on
these sounds, it is less problematic than students fear. Context will help maintain the
intended meaning in most situations when it comes to trills and taps (Lord 2005: 559).
Moreover, while students tend to fear [r] in particular, our own studies with
Australian students (Delicado, Steed and Herrero 2014; Steed and Delicado 2013;
Steed, Herrero and Delicado 2014) and other similar studies involving students from
other English-speaking countries (see, for instance, Face and Menke 2009; Herrero and
Andión 2011, 2012a, 2012b; Poch 2004; Serradilla 2000; Zampini 1997) reveal that
there are other segmental issues that need more work, including the realization of
approximants, VOT differences (i.e., lack of aspiration), vowel differences (e.g., lack of
schwa, lack of final diphthongization, etc.), or the inappropriateness of the flap as an
allophone of intervocalic /d/. Our surveyed students, however, do not deem these as
Initial p, t and k (e.g. patata, tomate, kilo): 89% very easy/easy
Non-initial b, d and g (e.g. cantaba, todo, hago): 72% very easy/easy
R vs d (e.g. todo vs. toro): 70% very easy/easy
Vowels: 80% very easy/easy
While not all segmental errors are equal (Luque 2012; Mellado 2012: 33), awareness is
indeed most necessary.
Despite the common focus on trills, other factors have a stronger effect on creating an
inadequate L2 Spanish pronunciation; among them, suprasegmentals are consistently
underlined in the literature (Cortés 2002: 59-60; Gil 2007: 156-159; Lahoz 2012a;
Llisterri 2003; Santamaría 2007a, 2007b; see also Chun 2002). The lack of coverage of
these elements in both Spanish and English classes means that students are unaware
of these matters (Cortés 2002: 60-61; Lahoz 2012b: 141). The same applies to voice
quality (Celce-Murcia et al. 2010: 32) and, in general, to the reality of connected speech
(Celce-Murcia et al. 2010: 175; Santamaría 2007a, 2007b).
In our survey, only a few students comment on problems beyond isolated
segments; moreover, one of them is not sure whether such a problem counts as
Though perhaps not a specifically pronounciation issue, I find that I have had
difficulty is simply separating the words in spoken Spanish, in that a lot of words
and sounds seem to blend together and that the subtle differences in sound, whilst I
can recognise and reproduce them when they are isolated, make understanding
naturally spoken Spanish incredibly difficult.
Some vowel combinations are difficult in certain words, especially in long/unusual
Other students become frustrated over authentic thus, connected speech in the
classroom and initially react negatively to it (see Santamaría 2007a: 1239-1240 and
Santamaría 2007b):
Teachers sometimes speak to fast to be able to understand new words and how they
are meant to be pronounced.
Developing awareness
As we have discussed in the previous sections, one of the important outcomes of
teaching and learning is an awareness of where difficulties may arise, which can help
students build confidence, locate and isolate issues for further improvement, and
evaluate the actual degree of unintelligibility that an error can lead to. Without this
knowledge including formal knowledge (see Venkatagiri and Levis 2007 for evidence
in favour of metaphonological awareness) their pathway to improvement is
diminished. Awareness is also necessary for perception (Kennedy and Trofimovich
2010). Furthermore, awareness is likewise crucial in setting feasible goals (see Jacinto
2007: 16-18):
I personally find pronunciation easy, but there are several people in my (3rd
year/5th semester) Spanish class who sound very Australian when they speak
While students may choose to maintain their Australian accent for affective reasons
(Mellado 2012: 21, 39), this is only fair if it is indeed an informed choice and comes
hand in hand with proper education, a clear understanding of reachable goals (a socially
acceptable intelligibility; see Chun 2002: 83; Mellado 2012: 20-21), and adequate
In addition, students need to be aware of the consequences of an inadequate
pronunciation, including the distorting social perceptions of the non-socially-intelligible
L2 speaker, who may be judged unfavourably on the basis of poor oral accuracy
(Derwing 2003: 557-558; Gil 2007: 97-99; Morley 1994: 69-70).
We want to thank our colleagues Alfredo Herrero de Haro and Alicia Mellado for their
comments and support. We are likewise grateful to the anonymous students surveyed in
this article for their participation. All usual disclaimers apply.
In sum, we find that our students’ attitude towards learning and teaching Spanish
pronunciation rests on two main pillars: confidence in themselves and in their ability to
learn, which offers a solid affective base (positive locus of control) on which to cement
successful learning, and a positive attitude towards the importance of pronunciation. At
the same time, we have also detected a number of tensions arising out of lack of proper
awareness, in agreement with the results from previous works, as mentioned above.
The literature consistently highlights the benefits of pronunciation instruction
(Celce-Murcia et al. 2010; Gil 2007; González-Bueno and Quintana-Lara 2011; Lord
2005; Mellado 2012). It is even more important once we factor in the fact that students
are routinely tested through activities such as oral exams or in-class presentations,
where comprehensibility and/or fluency contribute to the grade.
Teachers of Spanish in Australia can benefit from the existing positive base by
incorporating pronunciation in the same way as other language components (especially
grammar and lexicon) and working with them to move past the aforementioned tensions
in order to help them improve their target language skills and their awareness.
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... It causes students felt uneasy to produce their sentences in oral. It is in line with Saito (2019), Steed and Cantero (2018) who declare students who do not have enough fluency to speak feel low self-confidence and emerge their anxiety to speak (Moneypenny & Aldrich, 2016;Wong et al., 2017). They were still confused in organizing the words in speaking. ...
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This research investigated the teaching of English by using Two Stay Two Stray to improve the students’ speaking skill in the 10th-grade students of vocational schools, West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The participants of this research were 28 students. The research utilized a classroom action research. The research covered two cycles and each cycle consisted of four steps they were; planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. The research consisted of two cycles, and each cycle applied three parts, such as; pre-test, treatment, and post-test. The data collected were qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data were gained through observation and documentation. Meanwhile, the quantitative data was collected from the test. The researcher used SPSS 16.00 to analyze the quantitative data. The researcher found a significant improvement in students’ speaking skills after giving treatment using Two Stay Two Stray in cycle I and II. The improvement of using Two Stay Two Stray in improving the students’ speaking skill was significant. It can be seen from cycle I up to the cycle II. The result of the cycle I showed that the mean of post-test is higher than the the pre-test. The mean of the post-test was 66.14 and pre-test are 60.50. In cycle II, the mean of the post-test is higher than the mean of the pre-test. The mean score of post-test was 76.28 and pre-test are 66.14. The researcher concluded that using Two Stay Two Stray improved the 10th grade students’ speaking skill at vocational schools, West Nusa Tenggara Province.
... During this time research has demonstrated that pronunciation is a component of successful oral communication (Derwing, Munro, Wiebe, 1997, 1998, pronunciation instruction has been linked to improved listening skills (Rasmussen & Zampini, 2010), and a meta-analysis demonstrated pronunciation instruction to be consistently effective (Lee, Jang, & Plonsky, 2015). Research has also shown that learners believe it is important to improve their pronunciation (Huensch & Thompson, 2017;Steed & Delicado Cantero, 2014), but that learners might value this skill higher than instructors (Harlow & Muyskens, 1994). ...
The goal of this work was to explore the training, classroom practices, and beliefs related to pronunciation of instructors of languages other than English. While several investigations of this type have been conducted in English as a second/foreign language contexts, very little is known about the beliefs and practices of teachers of languages other than English. It is unknown whether recent shifts to focusing on intelligibility, as advocated by some pronunciation scholars, are borne out in foreign language classrooms. To fill this gap, instructors of Spanish (n = 127), French (n = 89), and German (n = 80) teaching basic language courses (i.e. the first four semesters) at 28 large (e.g. more than 15,000 students), public universities in the United States completed an online survey reporting on their training, classroom practices, and beliefs. Similar to ESL/EFL contexts, the results indicated that instructors believe it is important to incorporate pronunciation in class and that it is possible to improve pronunciation. However, the findings also indicated that instructors have goals which simultaneously prioritize intelligibility and accent reduction. Implications include the need for research on which pronunciation features influence intelligibility in languages other than English and for materials designed to target these features.
... This is consistent with findings of past research. For example, Steed and Delicado Cantero (2014), in their study on Spanish students learning English in Australia, indicated similar result where the Spanish students showed a positive attitude towards the importance of correct pronunciation in spoken English. However, they argued that further steps need to be taken to increase the students' awareness of the importance of correct pronunciation and that appropriate pedagogical method need to be considered to effectively teach pronunciation. ...
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The purpose of this study is to investigate how learners perceive pronunciation and its importance in spoken English. The motivation for the study is the increasing unpopularity of the aspect of pronunciation in the ESL context which has caused lack of measures in improving learners' pronunciation skill despite being quite a concern among professionals in job environments that demands intelligible spoken English. The study specifically looked into the dimensions of students' perceptions towards accurate English pronunciation. The study employed survey questionnaires as data collection tool and the data were analysed statistically using SPSS and factor analysis. Based on the findings, four dimensions emerged in their perception for the importance of correct pronunciation in spoken English: 1) their awareness towards the importance of correct pronunciation; 2) concern on its accuracy; 3) level of achievement on their performance; and 4) the affinity for the effort to improve their English pronunciation in general. Overall, the findings suggested that the respondents have clear understanding of the concern for correct pronunciation in spoken English.
... En este caso, el conocimiento de la fonética y la fonología de la L1 de los estudiantes (el inglés australiano, principalmente) permitirá prever posibles conflictos y, además, hará posible llevar a cabo un análisis apropiado de las necesidades de los estudiantes (Llisterri 2003;Llorente Pinto 2013, 250), con un mayor grado de corrección fonética y eliminación de interferencias de la L1 (Llisterri 2003;Poch Olivé 2004 Estas sugerencias y la oportunidad de cada profesor de reflexionar sobre sus propias creencias y actitudes ayudarán a aumentar el éxito de los estudiantes. Los estudiantes suelen tener una idea de los sonidos que les resultan más difíciles, pero no siempre son capaces de discernir los segmentos y suprasegmentos realmente más problemáticos para su inteligibilidad (Steed y Delicado Cantero 2014b). Igualmente, no siempre son conscientes de que las competencias ortográfica y ortoépica, aun siendo sumamente importantes, no son suficientes y son planos distintos (Mellado 2012, 21-22) y de que la pronunciación está interrelacionada con otros componentes de la lengua e incluye igualmente la percepción (Iruela Guerrero 2007, 5;Usó Viciedo 2008, 109). ...
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Tras años de desatención en la metodología y en las aulas, la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de la pronunciación están viviendo un retorno a las aulas acompañados de un creciente interés en la investigación (Gil Fernández 2007, 2012). En Australia, en comparación con otras lenguas —especialmente las asiáticas— de mayor tradición en la educación, el español no ha gozado de una gran presencia y tampoco ha recibido la atención necesaria en la investigación pedagógica, incluidas las opiniones y necesidades de los docentes. En este artículo ofrecemos un estudio de las creencias y las actitudes de profesores australianos de español como lengua extranjera (ELE) en relación con la enseñanza de la pronunciación. Los datos proceden de profesores de varios niveles educativos y de diferentes estados o territorios australianos. En el estudio mostramos que a la comunidad docente no solamente le interesa la pronunciación, sino que también ha recibido algún tipo de formación. También establecemos una comparación con las conclusiones más relevantes a las que han llegado trabajos similares en otros países. Este tipo de estudio es esencial para poder dar a conocer la opinión entre los profesores de ELE en Australia (Pajares 1992; Borg 2003, 2006). De este modo, queremos contribuir a llenar un vacío existente en los estudios de ELE en esta parte del mundo.
A growing body of research, especially on second language (L2) English, has shown the positive effects of explicit pronunciation teaching. However, some beliefs which prevent explicit pronunciation teaching still remain, notably, the belief that regular speaking during class time is enough to improve pronunciation outcomes. This article analyses the evolution of L2 Spanish vowels in four students at an Australian university. An analysis of 1,387 vowels from the first, third and sixth semesters of a Spanish major with no particular focus on explicit pronunciation teaching shows minimal change in the quality of the students’ vowels, indicating very little improvement in pronunciation across their six-semester language major. The results suggest that speaking during class is not enough to improve L2 Spanish pronunciation and support explicit pronunciation teaching in the language classroom.
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This contribution investigates the opinions of 372 first-year students from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice about pronunciation and foreign accent in the languages chosen as main subjects. Although a native-like accent is highly valued, students do not simply equate good and accent-free pronunciation. They are confident in assessing the pronunciation of other L2 speakers but show considerable uncertainty about self-assessment and pronunciation deficits. L2 pronunciation is mostly associated with pleasure for them. The main predictor of responses is proficiency level, followed by target languages, linguistic biography and motivation for enrolling in the course. Keywords: Self-awareness • Language attitudes • Affective factors of L2 pronunciation • Foreign accent • L2 pronunciation • Italian university students • Self-evaluation • Self-assessment
The paper explores the phonological awareness of L1 among advanced adult speakers of EFL in the context of L2 pronunciation training. The subjects are students of English with Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Russian L1 background. All subjects have participated in intensive English pronunciation instruction as part of their degree training, in the English Department at the Pedagogical University in Kraków. Two aspects are tar- geted for examination: perception of sound contrasts and awareness of contextual variants in L1, mostly those pertaining to the consonantal and vocalic inventories, all related to their L2 (English) production goals. The material is based on longitudinal examination of course test results over the span of 3 years. The analysis reveals low sound discrimination skills in the subjects’ L1, largely based on letter-to-sound correspondences and inability to see beyond print. Through explicit training in their L2 they become more sensitive to the inventory and the details of their L1 sound system, the awareness they can use to the advantage when targeting L2 sound production.
In this article, we question the presumed presence of the textbook as sine qua non in languages education. Contextualising our discussion within Spanish as a foreign language (SFL) in higher education, we illuminate the overlapping ideological, historical and economic forces that frame and shape language practice through textbooks. In a field in which decolonial and poststructuralist approaches to language and languages education are gaining traction, the textbook thwarts theoretical and practical complexification of language beyond monolingual depictions of languages as ahistorical and context-free systems which unproblematically transport meaning across time and space. Furthermore, the status of textbook as a producible and consumable item cannot be overlooked. On the basis of our critique, we conclude that the use of textbooks generates serious tensions in practice for those wishing to pursue emergent, emancipatory linguistic frameworks in languages education.
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Early instruction in speaking any language includes pre-packaged chunks of functionally important language such as introductions and leave-takings. Such functional uses of language are critically important in early language use (e.g., Weinert, 1995) and provide a way for beginners to communicate in highly constrained situations (Wray, 2000). In addition, learners with higher proficiency can use the opportunities provided by functional routines to gain access to social interactions and thus, access to greater opportunities for learning the target language. However, the success of functional routines is often dependent on pronunciation that matches the expectations of interlocutors.
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En este capítulo intentaremos responder a preguntas de tres tipos: Conceptuales: ¿Qué son la entonación, el ritmo y el tempo? ¿En qué parámetros acústicos se basan? ¿Qué repercusión tienen sobre el significado, la comprensión y la comunicación? ¿Cuántos tipos de entonación interrogativa hay en español? ¿Qué hay de común en la entonación de todas las lenguas del mundo? ¿Qué fenómeno es el causante de que muchos alumnos tengan la impresión de que los españoles hablamos muy rápido y les cueste entendernos? Metodológicas: ¿Cómo podemos anticipar algunos de los errores que tendrán nuestros estudiantes en función de su origen? ¿Cómo podemos conseguir que los alumnos presten efectivamente atención a la entonación, el ritmo o el tempo en vez de centrarse únicamente en el significado de las palabras o frases concretas? ¿Cómo podemos partir de los esquemas de la lengua materna de nuestros alumnos para conseguir que superen esa influencia de un modo más eficiente? ¿Cómo podemos despertar la consciencia del alumno sobre su propia producción y favorecer la comparación con un modelo? ¿Cuál es el orden óptimo de enseñanza de los distintos tipos de entonación? ¿Qué tipo de sonidos debe haber en un enunciado para favorecer la práctica de la entonación? ¿Cómo podemos mejorar la fluidez de nuestros alumnos? ¿Cómo podemos corregir de una manera eficaz los errores de entonación, ritmo y tempo? Actitudinales: ¿Por qué es importante enseñar estos fenómenos prosódicos a los estudiantes de español? ¿Cómo podemos transmitirles a nuestros alumnos esa importancia? ¿Cómo podemos conseguir expresividad de nuestros alumnos más inexpresivos, sin que se sientan presionados o incómodos en clase?
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Este artículo trata una de las áreas más olvidadas en ELE: la enseñanza de la pronunciación. La distancia fonético-fonológica entre la L1 y la L2 de los aprendices es un factor de gran relevancia a la hora de dominar los sonidos de la lengua extranjera; sin embargo, es la distancia fonético-fonológica entre la región dialectal en L1 (RD1) y la L2 del hablante la que influirá más en este aprendizaje. Tras comparar particularidades lingüísticas del inglés en general, y del dialecto escocés y norirlandés en particular, con las del español castellano, y analizar la interlengua de estudiantes de español de Escocia e Irlanda del Norte, se pueden ver las transferencias positivas y negativas en el campo fonético-fonológico. Se presenta una lista de las interferencias que deben ser corregidas y se aportan ejercicios basados en fonética combinatoria para corregir las interferencias de los hablantes de esta región dialectal del Reino Unido.
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Why don’t some teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) teach pronunciation? There is evidence to suggest that both students and teachers see the value of intelligible pronunciation in adult second language learners. However, studies have shown that some teachers in Australian ESL contexts lack confidence in this area, and do not teach it in a systematic, planned way. Interviews with eight ESL teachers investigate why they find pronunciation a difficult or problematic area to teach, and/or why they tend to avoid teaching it. Their reasons include the absence of pronunciation in curricula, which creates a situation where there is little incentive for these teachers to expand their skills and knowledge about pronunciation through experiment and practice, and through formal training or in-servicing. There is also a lack of suitable teaching and learning materials of a high quality, and an absence of a skills and assessment framework with which to map student ability and progress in this area. In light of these results, a number of recommendations are made that, it is hoped, will promote teacher confidence, skills and knowledge in this area.
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Rhythm is a speech property related to the temporal organization of sounds in terms of grouping. Segmentation units are language-specific and emerge from phonological properties such as syllable structure, phonotactics, and prosodic contrasts at the lexical and postlexical level. Rhythmic differences across languages pose problems for second language acquisition, given the intricate combination of acoustic cues, the perceptual difficulties caused by phonological deafness, and the interferences with the organization of segmental contrasts and with lexical access. This paper provides a typological comparison that includes descriptions of the attested rhythm classes (syllable-timed, stress-timed, and mora-timed), as well as of word prosody systems (tone, pitch-accent, and stress languages). This analysis yields predictions regarding typical errors for learners of Spanish from different linguistic backgrounds. Additionally, Spanish syllable structure and stress system are described and some strategies are suggested to practice these in class.
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Tras años de desatención en la metodología y en las aulas, la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de la pronunciación están viviendo un retorno a las aulas acompañados de un creciente interés en la investigación (Gil Fernández 2007, 2012). En Australia, en comparación con otras lenguas —especialmente las asiáticas— de mayor tradición en la educación, el español no ha gozado de una gran presencia y tampoco ha recibido la atención necesaria en la investigación pedagógica, incluidas las opiniones y necesidades de los docentes. En este artículo ofrecemos un estudio de las creencias y las actitudes de profesores australianos de español como lengua extranjera (ELE) en relación con la enseñanza de la pronunciación. Los datos proceden de profesores de varios niveles educativos y de diferentes estados o territorios australianos. En el estudio mostramos que a la comunidad docente no solamente le interesa la pronunciación, sino que también ha recibido algún tipo de formación. También establecemos una comparación con las conclusiones más relevantes a las que han llegado trabajos similares en otros países. Este tipo de estudio es esencial para poder dar a conocer la opinión entre los profesores de ELE en Australia (Pajares 1992; Borg 2003, 2006). De este modo, queremos contribuir a llenar un vacío existente en los estudios de ELE en esta parte del mundo.
El ritmo es una propiedad del habla relacionada con la organización temporal de los sonidos en términos de agrupamiento. Las unidades de segmentación son específicas de cada lengua y emergen de propiedades fonológicas tales como la estructura silábica, la fonotáctica, y los contrastes prosódicos en los niveles léxico y postléxico. Las diferencias rítmicas entre las lenguas plantean problemas para la adquisición de segundas lenguas, debido a la compleja combinación de claves acústicas, las dificultades perceptivas causadas por la sordera fonológica, y las interferencias con la organización de los contrastes segmentales y con el acceso al léxico. Este artículo ofrece una comparación tipológica que incluye descripciones de las distintas clases de ritmo existentes (temporización silábica, acentual, y moraica), así como de los distintos sistemas de contraste prosódico en el nivel léxico (lenguas tonales, de acento tonal, y de acento tipo «stress»). Este análisis permite predecir los errores típicos que afectan a los estudiantes de español de distintas procedencias lingü.sticas. Además, se describe la estructura silábica y el sistema acentual del español, y se sugieren algunas estrategias para practicarlos en clase.
A correct pronunciation is of paramount importance to guarantee the intelligibility of students of Spanish as a Foreign Language; however, paradoxically, the teaching of pronunciation is one of the least taught sub-skills in SFL manuals. The phonetic-phonological differences between the L1 and the L2 of the students will have great influence on the acquisition of the pronunciation, making it more difficult or easier depending on the degree of similarity between both phonetic-phonological systems, although it is the distance between the sounds of the dialectical region of the speaker and the L2 that will contribute the most to the success or failure of this acquisition process. In the present article we start by comparing the phoneticphonological system of English (RP) and Spanish, (Castilian Spanish), and then we compare the latter with the varieties of the North and the South of England through the study of recordings of learners from those areas. This will allow us to know the transferences and interferences that these speakers present in Spanish and that must be tackled during the process of phonetic acquisition.
This paper investigates the effects of explicit instruction and self-analysis on the acquisition of second-language (L2) pronunciation, specifically of nine Spanish phonemes learned by native speakers of English. Oral data were collected from seventeen students enrolled in an undergraduate course in Spanish Phonetics at the beginning and end of the semester. The treatment consisted of standard phonetics instruction, practice with voice analysis software and oral self-analysis projects. Target sounds were rated for accuracy of pronunciation through voice analysis software. Results are promising, indicating that the participants receiving explicit phonetics instruction improved their pronunciation on specific features.