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Effects of Formal Instruction on Acquisition of Spanish Vowels

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PAGE 1

EFFECTS OF FORMAL INSTRUCTION ON ACQUISITION OF SPANISH VOWELS By LAUREL JADE HODGES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Laurel Jade Hodges

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Para Manolo, con mucho amor, y en profundo ag radecimiento por su constante apoyo y fe

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my professors, Dr. Gillian Lord and Dr. Joaquim Camps, and the native speaker judges who participat ed in this study. Without their cooperation and assistance this project would never have come to be. I also thank my parents and Gert, for their unwavering support and love, and Frank Thomas for his continual comforting presence.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..............................................................................4 Learner Variables..........................................................................................................4 Age of Learning.....................................................................................................4 Attitude..................................................................................................................6 Gender...................................................................................................................7 Theoretical Approaches................................................................................................8 Social Context.......................................................................................................8 Ontogeny Model....................................................................................................8 Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis................................................................9 Effects of Formal Instruction......................................................................................10 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................14 Design......................................................................................................................... 15 Participants..........................................................................................................15 Instruments..........................................................................................................15 Procedure....................................................................................................................17 Analysis......................................................................................................................2 2 Scoring Procedure...............................................................................................22 Data Analysis.......................................................................................................23 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................25

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vi 5 DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION..............................................................................33 Theoretical Framework...............................................................................................35 Limitations..................................................................................................................37 Future Research..........................................................................................................38 Conclusion..................................................................................................................38 APPENDIX A PRONUNCIATION TESTS.......................................................................................40 B LANGUAGE BACKGROUND INFORMATION FORM........................................46 C PRONUNCIATION ATTI TUDE INVENTORY......................................................48 D ACTIVITIES..............................................................................................................50 E TRANSCRIPTS FOR JUDGES.................................................................................54 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................60 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................63

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vii LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Breakdown of tasks and in struments administered..................................................16 4-1 Mean accuracy and standard deviations on word list task.......................................25 4-2 Mean accuracy and standard deviations on free speech task...................................26 4-3 ANOVA summary table for word list task...............................................................26 4-4 ANOVA summary table for free speech task...........................................................28

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Correlation between attitude and test score on word list, experimental group........30 4-2 Correlation between attitude and test score on free speech, experimental group....30

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ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts EFFECTS OF FORMAL INSTRUCTION ON ACQUISITION OF SPANISH VOWELS By Laurel Jade Hodges August 2006 Chair: Joaquim Camps Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures This study attempts to discover the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on the unstressed-vowel production of beginning-level students of Spanish. Many studies have investigated the effects of this kind of instruction on the acquisition of an L2 phonological system. Some have been successful in showing improvement in pronunciation due to instruction, while others have been unable to make a substantiated, data-based claim for the inclusion of this type of instructi on in L2 classrooms. Spanish vowels were chosen as the focus of the instruction in this study because, although written as the same five vowels in English, they differ vastly in their pronunciation and, when pronounced incorrectly, are one of the str ongest indicators of foreign accent in Spanish. The vowels analyzed in this project are unstressed word-final /a/, /e/, and /o/, due to their tendencies to be either reduced or leng thened in the Spanish of native English speakers.

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x The participants in this study are students in three different sections of the same class, a second-semester, college-level Spanis h class at a large state university. They are all native speakers of English. Participants complete d tests of pronunciation on three different occasions: a pretest, a posttest, and a second posttest, each consisting of a word list and a free response portion. On the third da y of the study, after re cording the posttest, participants completed a Pronunciation Attitude In ventory (PAI). In addition, participants in the experimental group received three 15minute periods of inst ruction on and practice with producing Spanish vowels. The data was recorded and the particular sounds in que stion rated by three native Spanish speaker judges using a four-point sc ale. Results indicate a correlation between vowel production and explic it pronunciation instruction, and also between vowel production and pronunciation attitude; these correlations may depend on context of production and on the use of certain vowel sounds.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Second language (L2) educators often se t communicative competence as a goal for their students. This idea includes proficienc y in the areas of syntax, pragmatics, and morphology of the second language. However, phonol ogy is also an integral part of this concept that nonetheless seems to receive less attention in the classroom than the other components mentioned above. In order to communicate content effectively in the second language, learners must be understood; ther efore, it is highly recommendable that instructors spend more time explaining diffe rences between the phonological systems of learners' first and second languages, in or der to better their co mmunication skills as a whole. According to Arteaga (2000), little info rmation about phonology is given in firstyear Spanish textbooks; few Spanish instructors would disagree with her assessment. It is therefore important that instru ctors teach learners explicitly how to pronounce Spanish. In addition, Elliott (2003) presents the idea that pedagogical cons ciousness-raising efforts in L2 phonology lead to increased concern for accuracy on the pa rt of the learners, which may raise their self-confiden ce when speaking the second language. When learners' affective filters are lowered in this manner, they will be more likely to seek out native speakers of the L2 with whom to practice th eir language skills. The contact with these native speakers leads to increased input in th e L2, which may, in turn, positively affect the learners' acquisition of the L2 phonological system (Krashen 1982, VanPatten 1987, VanPatten & Cadierno 1993). In sum, the claim can be made that the act of teaching L2

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2 phonology may lead to increased input and bette r acquisition of not only the sounds of a second language, but also other areas of competence as well. Various pedagogical trends have affect ed the teaching of pronunciation in the classroom. In her review of phonetics instru ction in the Spanish classroom, Arteaga (2000) notes that at the turn of the twentie th century, the emphasi s was on grammar and translation; pronunciation was re garded as supplementary information. It was therefore mostly excluded from the curriculum. Around the 1970s, with the birth of the a udiolingual method and more advanced laboratory technology, pronunciati on training was accorded more importance and began to make an appearance in Spanish textbooks. This approach relied on drills and repetition in order to adjust pronunciation and made us e of overt and direct correction of errors (Terrell 1989). The increased attention to pronunciation without question produced students whose pronunciation skills were more advanced than those of students who had studied under the grammar and translation ap proach; however, these gains may have been made at the expense of the free expression of ideas. The communicative methodology of the 1980s, with its almost exclusive focus on the communication of meaning, again de -emphasized pronunciation instruction. According to Terrell, the place of pronunciati on instruction in the classroom remains unresolved still today. He recommends the use of explicit pronunciation instruction combined with activities that make exte nsive use of problem sounds yet focus on meaningful communication. Art eaga (2000) agrees, and adds that L2 textbooks should incorporate more information about phonetic s and recycle that information throughout the textbook. She also stipulates that learners need to develop self -monitoring skills. This

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3 study attempts to add an e xplicit phonetic component to an already communicative Spanish course, with the goal of increasing st udents' awareness of how they sound in the L2 and various factors that cause foreign accent. Spanish vowels were chosen as the focus of the instruction in this study because, though written orthographically as the same five vowels in E nglish, they differ vastly in their pronunciation and, when pr onounced incorrectly, are one of the strongest indicators of foreign accent in Spanish (Terrell 1989). Th e vowels analyzed in this project are unstressed word-final /a/, /e/ and /o/, due to their tendencies to be either reduced or lengthened in the Spanish speech of native En glish speakers. Word-final /a/, in words such as hermana ("sister"), is problematic in that it is often reduced to the English sound schwa / / in learners' speech. /o/ as in bonito ("pretty") may also be reduced, and both /o/ and /e/, as in calle ("street"), are susceptible to be ing lengthened like their English counterparts, with the addition of a glide: /ow/ or /ej/. Given the difficulty associated with the ac quisition of these vowels and the lack of pronunciation information in first-year Spanish classrooms, it is hoped that this study will demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of the inclusion of phone tics instruction in the first-year Spanish curriculum and provide a model to that end. In the next chapter we will examine the underlying cau ses of variation in ac quisition of L2 phonology.

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4 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Many factors have been investigated as possible underlying causes of variation among learners, and particularly with re spect to L2 phonological acquisition. These include individual learner vari ables, general theoretical a pproaches, and the effects of pronunciation instruction. In this section we will take a closer look at the factors mentioned above, as well as provide a critical view of recent studies in the area of formal instruction of pronunciation. Learner Variables Age of Learning Many researchers have claimed that comp lete mastery of a second language is impossible for learners after a certain age, due to the changing biology of the brain. This is known as the Critical Period Hypothe sis (Lennenberg 1967, Asher & Garcia 1969, Lamendella 1977, Scovel 1988, Birdsong 1999). Ot her investigators have found that there may be various critical ages for th e different linguistic abilities, such as morphology, syntax, or vocabul ary (Long 1990, Patkowski 1980, Johnson & Newport 1989 ). Flege et al. (2001) point out that the first ability to be lost would be the capability to develop native-like pronunciation in the L 2. According to this view, those learners exposed to the L2 before the closing of the critical age are able to develop pronunciation skills resembling those of a native speaker, while those learners exposed to the L2 after the closing of the critical ag e are unable ever to attain native-like L2 pronunciation.

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5 As there appears to be no clear, defining moment with respect to the exact age of the learner when the critical period closes, researchers su ch as Oyama (1976) and Long (1990) have suggested calling it a "sens itive period" instead, with less defined boundaries, during which changes may occur gradually, and before and after which linguistic capabilities differ. Long (1990) clai med that learners who begin acquiring their L2 before the age of six will be accent-free, while learners who begin after age twelve will most likely exhibit a foreign accent. Oyama (1976), in her study of Italian-born immigrants, identified age of arrival as the single most important predictor of foreign accent. Practice and motivation were related to accent only in connection to age at arrival. However, Moyer (1999) revealed in he r study one of the unusual cases of a participant whose speec h shows no maturational effects. Th is particular participant had no exposure to German prior to the age of 22, yet on tests of pronunciation ability, he outscored even one of the native speakers in the control group. The participant had received only five years of in struction and spent l ittle time in the country of the L2. Moyer states that this participant descri bed his motivation as "fascination with the language and with Germans,'' and she goes on to state that "such motivation is difficult to quantify, much less to influence, and its relati onship to ultimate attainment has yet to be determined" (98). Nonetheless, cases such as th is one are a clear reminder that the critical or sensitive period does not hol d across the board for all learners and thus must be investigated and developed further, as must other intervening vari ables. While age of learning is not one of the variables consider ed in the present study, it forms part of a spectrum of issues that have been consider ed in the field of L2 phonological acquisition.

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6 Attitude Learners' attitudes towards their own pr onunciation ability and how those attitudes relate to production have also been exam ined by various researchers. Harlow and Muyskens (1994) note that "students worry ab out pronunciation a great deal because they feel insecure about how they sound to othe r people" (146). Various studies point to a relationship between pronunciation accuracy in the second language and learner attitude. Suter (1976) studied 20 variables in connection with the L2 phonological production of 61 non-native speakers of English. He found that concern for pronunciation, along with native language a nd amount of conversation with native English speakers in and out of the classr oom, were strongly related to pronunciation accuracy. Among those variables with little relationship to pronunciation accuracy were formal instruction in pronunciation, gender, and an extroverted personality. However, several studies have connected formal pronunc iation instruction with greater accuracy; these studies will be discussed more in detail below. Elliott's findings (1995a, 1995b) corroborated those of Suter, when he also took into account students' attitudes regarding pronunciation as a factor in whether they improved or not after the explicit pronunciati on instruction provided them. Their attitudes toward pronunciation skills were measured using a Likert-type test called the Pronunciation Attitude Inventory (PAI), consisting of positive and negative statements for which the students chose a forced-respons e answer of 1, indicating the frequency with which the attitude was true for them (e.g., "I will never be able to speak Spanish with a good accent"). Elliott discovered that high er scores on the PAI correlated to higher scores on the pronunciation test and were a predictor of pron unciation accuracy, but that

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7 they did not predict high er scores as a result of the fo rmal instruction provided to the experimental group. By contrast, Hammond and Flege (1989) show ed that it was in fact the learners with the least empathy toward a language group who performed best at imitating native pronunciation. These learners actually displayed a hostile attitude toward speakers of the L2. This study investigated a different type of attitude, that which is held toward the speakers of a foreign language Although this was a surprising finding, it shows that there are many aspects of attitude that perhaps must be considered separatel y. It is safe to say that research in the area of the effects of attitude on phonologi cal acquisition of the L2 is contradictory and inconclusive to date. The cu rrent study will investig ate attitude as it relates to pronunciation accuracy by analyzing the results of an attitude inventory. Gender The effects of gender in attainment of L2 pronunciation skills do not appear to be a significant factor. Anecdotal ev idence (Elliott 2003) suggests that females acquire L2 phonological capabilities be tter than males, but this has not been borne out in empirical studies. As mentioned above, Suter (1976) found that gender was not related to acquisition of pronunciation. El liott (1995a) was also unabl e to show a relationship between gender and performance on tests of pronunciation. Of these 3 relevant learner variables in acquisition of pronunciation described here, we attempt to relate attitude with pronunc iation in this study, given that only collegelevel students are included as participants, and gender ha s not been shown to be significant in previous research. The relati onship between pronunciation and attitude will be examined through the analys is of participant responses on a questionnaire and scores

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8 on a test of pronunciation. We turn now to th e larger theoretical framework surrounding L2 phonological acquisition. Theoretical Approaches In prior research in this area, many other factors beside s individual learner variables have been found to be significant in terms of lear ner production. In this section we will examine various theories, hypothese s, and models that attempt to explain acquisition of the phonology of an L2. Social Context Tarone (1979) noted early on the effects of social context a nd type of task on learners' interlanguage production. The inte rlanguage varies systematically along a continuum from vernacular speech to careful speech. According to Tarone, errors due to interference are more common in careful speech, which is obtained when learners are aware that they are being observed. Resear chers in the area of acquisition of L2 phonology are faced with a difficult task in obtain ing clear, analyzable data that at the same time represent vernacular, less monito red speech. Tarone cont ends that research into this area is only possible when inve stigators keep in mind the "chameleon-like nature" of the interlanguage (188). Thus, it is important for studies in L2 acquisition to interpret their findings in light of the type of tasks used in the study. Ontogeny Model In the area of L2 phonology task type seems to exhibit somewhat different effects. For example, Major's Ontogeny Model (1987) stat es that errors become less frequent as the task in question becomes mo re formal. In addition, learners are often able to produce target sounds correctly in isolated contexts, but recur to patterns of the L1 in casual speech. It is possible that studi es in this area of second la nguage acquisition have been

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9 unable to arrive at an accord in part due to differences in methodology or in task design and also due to their standpoint with regard to the effects of the formality of the tasks involved. Elliott's (1997) findings concur with the view of the Ontogeny Model, in that participants exhibited more errors of tran sfer in less careful speech. As the learners concentrated on communicating meaning in a free elicitation ex ercise of picture description, attention to pronuncia tion decreased, and more tran sfer errors appeared, such as retroflexion of / / and [r] and use of occlusives wh ere fricatives should have been produced. Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis Another possible cause underlying the potential for success in L2 phonological acquisition is found in Major and Kim's (1999) Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis, which states that features in the L2 that are dissimilar or not pr esent in the L1 are acquired at a faster rate than those whic h both languages share. For instance, following this line of thought, acquisition of the trilled Spanish /r/ might occur faster for a native English speaker than the subtleties of the oc clusive and fricative stops, because, while the trilled /r/ does not ex ist in English, the stops do, and they have no allophones, in contrast to the Spanish stops. It would follow, then, that the vowels analyzed in this study might fall within the category of features that exist in both languages, but with allophonic differences, thus taking longer to acquire. Flege's (1987) equivalence classification concurs with this particular hypothesis, stating that new phones in the L2 will be produced more authentically than similar phones, that is, phones that resemble sounds in the L1.

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10 This approach is quite cont rary to that of the Cont rastive Analysis Hypothesis (Lado 1957, Stockwell, Bowen & Martin 1965), first popular three decades earlier, which would have predicted the opposit e. Contrastive Analysis tra ced errors in the L2 to interference based on features of the L1, a nd used that knowledge to predict mistakes learners would make in the L2. The findings of this study are analyzed in light of the effects of task type, the Ontogeny Model, and the Similarity Differen tial Rate Hypothesis in order to discover their relative importance in the larger picture of L2 phonological acquisition. We turn now to the final section of this review of the literature, and the most pertinent to the present study: the effect s of formal instruction. Effects of Formal Instruction The current study attempts to examine the e ffects of explicit formal instruction in pronunciation at the beginning leve l of Spanish. To that end, he re we describe previous research done in this area and their results. According to Major (2001), four kind s of investigation into L2 phonology are possible: (1) individual segments; (2) segm ent combinations; (3) paralinguistic or prosodic features; and (4) overall accent. Th e majority of the following studies have investigated and measured acquisition of individual segments and overall accent. Many studies have attempted to define the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on the acquisition of an L2 phonol ogical system. Some have been successful in showing improvement in pronunciation due to instruction, while others have been unable to make a substantiated, data-based claim for the inclusion of this type of instruction in L2 classrooms. For instance, Thompson (1991), in her study of Russian immigrants' pronunciation, and Flege et al. (1995), in their review of factors affecting

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11 strength of foreign accent, were unable to id entify instruction as a predictor of improved pronunciation. However, in one of the more recent st udies, Gonzlez-Bueno (1997) was able to show statistically significant improvement in the voice onset time (VOT) of two of the Spanish phonemes presented in the instruc tional treatment of he r study, /p/ and /g/, although she noted a trend toward improvement for the other stops as well. This study investigated the effects of Spanish pronunciati on instruction at the intermediate level, with 60 native English speakers. The focus of instruction was the Spanish stop consonants /b, d, g, p, t, k/, which are repres ented phonetically with the same symbols as English stop consonants, yet which differ vas tly in two subsegmental features: aspiration and duration. The goal, then, was to reduce th e aspiration of the Spanish consonants, or the Voice Onset Time (VOT), in the speech of the experimental group, through ten minutes of instruction at the beginning of each class during one semester. During these ten minutes participants received informa tion about articulation and perception of the Spanish stop consonants and then practiced producing them. As was stated above, the results showed promising results for all phones, and statistically significant improvement on two of them. The design of Gonzlez-Bueno (1997) was similar to that of Elliott (1995b), in which instruction was given throughout a seme ster to participants on several different phonemes and allophones of Spanish, with rega rd to place and ma nner of articulation. The researcher described his instruction as "multimodal" (532), in that participants heard, saw, described, and sketched the producti on of the various Spanish sounds, thereby

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12 incorporating multiple learner strategies and preferences. Participants receiving the pronunciation instruction improved significantl y on a posttest of pronunciation ability. Lord (2005) also gave semester-long exp licit instruction on nine phonemes in an undergraduate Spanish phonetic s class with 17 participan ts. The instruction was combined with self-analysis activities that the participants carried out three times during the semester, and several times during class practice was provided with voice analysis software. Pretest and posttest comparisons re vealed that significant gains were made in the production of trilled [ ], diphthongs within and between words, and the fricative allophones [ ], [ ], and [ ]. Terrell (1989) gives suggestions for the practical incorporation of pronunciation instruction in the classroom, based on th e communicative approach. In his Stage 1, students focus on solely the processing of input with the aid of "advanced organizers", information about sounds in the target language. This is s upposed to reduce the "noise level" of new sounds so that learners can focu s on the input. Stage 2 consists of providing more advanced information about sounds. Two suggestions he gives are to tell students about syllable length in Spanis h versus English, as well as the schwa and the fact that an American r is never used in Spanish. In Stage 3, use is made of "meaningful monitor activities", in which the inst ructor identifies problem areas in class pronunciation and then designs an activity which practices that particular sound in a meaningful context. The present study makes use of explicit inform ation about sounds of Spanish, but without the practice in a meaningful cont ext. It is assumed that because the vowels /a, e, o/ are so common word finally in Spanish, that a ny communicative classroom activity could provide students the opportunity to practice th eir pronunciation.

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13 In this section, we have seen various causes underlying variation in acquisition of L2 phonology and several studies examining the e ffects of formal instruction. This study attempts to fill in the missing information on effects of pronunciation instruction at the beginning level. In the next chapter, th e methodology used for teaching pronunciation in this study will be presented and th e scoring of the data explained.

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14 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Previous studies in acquisition of Span ish phonology were designed and carried out with learners of intermediate L2 proficie ncy in mind, thus providing remarkably little information about how beginning learners of Spanish approach and deal with the new phonological system. This study therefore investig ates the effects of the same type of instruction as that used in other studies, but with participants at a lower level. The theories mentioned above (Major & Kim 1999, Flege 1987) would suggest that Spanish vowels might be difficult to acquire, as they occur in both Spanish and English, but with various differences. We have also seen in prev ious work that the effect of task type is also a factor (Tarone 1979, Major 1987) and ther efore may also play a role in the results of the present study. Keeping these ideas in mind, the research questions that motivated this study are as follows: What are the effects of formal pronunciati on instruction on the vowel production of second-semester learners of Spanis h who are native English speakers? Do the effects of formal instruction vary depending on the type of task performed? How are learners pronunciation attitudes related to their pr oduction of vowels? In the following sections of this chapter we address the design and procedures of the study and then discuss the an alysis of the data, while Chap ter 4 presents the empirical findings.

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15 Design Participants The participants in this study were students in three different sections of the same course, a second semester college-level Span ish class at a large state university. These particular sections were c hosen for scheduling purposes, and were randomly assigned to the experimental (2 sections) a nd control (1 section) treatments In order to take the class, the students must have had no more than two years of high school Spanish; however, some of the students did not take Spanish in high school and had had only one semester of college study prior to taking this class. Th e participants were al l native speakers of English. Two of the sections formed the expe rimental group, to whom pronunciation instruction was provided, in a ddition to their regular course curriculum; the remaining section constituted the control group, to wh om no pronunciation instruction was given. Of the experimental group, 14 participants were not present for one of the days of testing, and 7 potential participants of the control group chose not to participate in the study. In addition, 3 participants were lost from th e control group and 4 from the experimental group due to technical problems. There were a total of 16 students in the experimental group and 8 students in the control group. Instruments Independent variables in this study include d two instruments desi gned to give extra information about participants, with the goa l of investigating po ssible correlations between factors such as attitude and b ackground and with their performance on the remaining independent variab le, the pronunciation test. Tabl e 3.1 shows the ordering of the components of the study.

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16 Table 3-1. Breakdown of tasks a nd instruments administered. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 1 month later Background questionnaire Pronunciation instruction 2 Pronunciation instruction 3 Follow-up posttest* Pretest Posttest Experimental group Pronunciation instruction 1 Pronunciation Attitude Inventory Background questionnaire Posttest Follow-up posttest* Control group Pretest Pronunciation Attitude Inventory *The second posttest was later discar ded due to lack of participation. As can be seen in Table 3.1, participan ts completed the tests of pronunciation (Appendix A) at three different times. The test s contained different words and topics, but shared a common design. Participants first read aloud a word list of 15 target words equally distributed among word-final /a/, /e/ and /o/ (e.g., sala "room" calle "street" and bonito "pretty"), and 5 distractors (e.g., ganas "you win"), for a total of 20 items. This was followed by a free speech elicitation ta sk in which participants spoke for approximately 3 minutes in Spanish on each of two topics on each test, and were free to say what they wanted. For example, one of the topics for the pretest was as follows: "Describe your schedule for this semester. Wh at classes are you taking? What are they like? Do you have a favorite?" The other topi cs also covered themes common to student or personal life that students had covered in class. Nine Spanish vocabulary words were listed in Spanish under each topic (some of th em target words) in order to assist the participants in construc ting their responses (e.g., clase "class", semestre "semester", and estudiar "study"), and also in the hopes of elicitin g more tokens of word-final /a/, /e/ and /o/. All instructions for completing the te sts were given in English. The tests were

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17 recorded in a language laboratory using Div ace software on each occasion. The responses were then transcribed (although not phonetically) by the research er in order to give the judges the transcripts of student responses and to indicate the vowels they would rate. In addition, on the first day of the stu dy, all participants filled out a Language Background Questionnaire (Appendix B). The ques tionnaire addressed the participants' L1, exposure to Spanish outside the classr oom, years of formal instruction in the language, travel to Spanish-speaking c ountries, and any other languages spoken or studied. The questionnaire was given prior to any instructi on or testing, and its purpose was to control for factors related to extensiv e experience with Span ish or other languages outside of class. Participants also completed a Pronunciati on Attitude Inventory (PAI) (Appendix C) on the third day of the experi ment and after taking the posttest. This Inventory was modeled on Elliott (1995a) and was adapted to include 2 extra questions for a total of 14 items on a Likert-type scale, as well as 2 a dded free-response questions with the goal of obtaining feedback from the experiment al group on the pronunciation instruction provided to them. Possible scor es on the quantitative section of the PAI ranged from 14 to 70, with higher scores indicating a positive attitude toward pronunciation. Procedure Each group took the pronunciation pretest in the language laboratory. During the days that the experimental group carried out the activities relate d to the pronunciation instruction, the control group car ried out their normal activitie s relating to the textbook in the classroom with their regular instructor Pronunciation was at no point brought into focus in the control group class. The textbook used in this course (Knorre, et al. 2005) addresses some aspect of Spanish pronunciation at the end of each chapter, such as

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18 vowels or fricative allophones of the occlusive stops. This info rmation is not specifically included in the syllabus of the course, so it is up to each indi vidual instructor to make the decision whether to use these sections. In both the experime ntal and the control groups, these sections were not used. Following the pretest, the experimental gr oup was provided with the first period of pronunciation instruction on Sp anish vowels, which was given by the researcher in English in the language laborator y. First the participants were informed that there is a very close relationship between the way that Spanish is written and the way it sounds, making it relatively easy to learn the basics of pronunciation. Also, the five Spanish vowels are written the same as the English vow els. It was explained that these two facts can lead the beginning learner to believe th at the two languages share a vowel system, when in reality, many sounds in Spanish are not equivalent to E nglish sounds, including vowels. In fact, Spanish vowels, when pronounced incorrectly, can be one of the strongest indicators of a foreign accent (Terrell 1989). The participants were then encouraged to think of words in English written with each vowel, a e and o with as many different sounds as they could think of. Each word was written on the blackboard, and the participants pronounced each word and attempted to describe how each vowel sounded. Next, th ey were asked to provide Spanish words with the same vowel letters and describe how the vowels sounded. The focus was on showing that in each word, each vowel is always pronounced in the same manner, unlike English vowels, whose orthography may or may not represent th e reality of their pronunciation. For example, in the English words over and love the written vowel o

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19 represents two completely different sounds. By contrast, written Spanish o always represents /o/, as in the words o jo and ro mero Next, it was explained that Spanish vowels are short and tense, never drawn out with a /j/ or /w/ glide. Th e participants were briefly introduced to the concept of glides or the idea that semivowels can combine with vowels to form one syllable. It was shown that many vowels in English are actually th ese kinds of combinations of sounds, with concrete examples and comparisons with Spanish vowels. For instance, all pronounced the word table in English, followed by the word mesa in Spanish, in order to compare the difference between English /ej/ and Spanish /e/. This information was followed by a 10minute practice period, in which the participants repeated the Spanish vowels after the researcher, then repeated five complete sentences, each of which practiced one of the five vowels (e.g., "La casa es blanca"). Next, the participants pronounced syllables w ith each vowel aloud to themselves. Finally, they participated in an activity of per ception and discrimination with a classmate (Appendix D). This activity contained two columns, one with English words and the other with very closely related Spanish words, such as Fay and fe One person chose a word to read from one of the columns; th e other classmate listened and had to declare whether his/her partner had produced a word in English or Spanish. They then changed roles. During the next two days the experiment al group received two more periods of instruction of five minutes each and practi ce periods of ten minutes each. On the second day the researcher reviewed with the expe rimental group in the classroom the five Spanish vowels and that they are always pr onounced as short and tense. The focus of the

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20 information on the second day was the existence of [ ] in English and its non-existence in Spanish. Many English vowels are susceptible to reduction to [ ] when they occur in unaccented syllables; however, Spanish vowels are always pronounced the same way, regardless of position or stress. This was expl ained to the participants, and they were given and also asked to provide various examples of English words with [ ], such as purpose and collect Then participants completed activities of perception of [ ] in English words and predicting where [ ] might fall in the Spanish production of an English speaker in words such as hermana "sister" and inteligente "intelligent". This was followed by activities of pronuncia tion practice in which the part icipants tried to maintain the contrast between various sets of wo rds by pronouncing the vowels (especially wordfinal ones) faithfully, for example, sobre "over" vs. sobra "surplus" and marcado "marked" vs. mercado "market". On the third day in the laboratory agai n, participants were taught to avoid diphthongization and lengthening of Spanish vowels since this is a process which occurs frequently in the English phonological system. Participants were reminded of the mention of glides on the first da y, with more in-depth informati on this time. Comparable words in English and Spanish were written on the board and pronounced in part s in order to show the differences between them. One such word was "no", in each language. It was shown that in English three sounds actually make up the word: /n/, /o/, and the glide, /w/; in Spanish, the same word is composed of only two sounds: /n/ and /o/. It was hoped that by using such a simple example, participants w ould be able to hear the difference in the simple Spanish and complex English vowels. The participants were then asked to pronounce each word and attempt to feel the di fference in their mouths, due to differing

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21 jaw positions for English vowels versus their Spanish counterparts. The next step was to show that when a vowel sound is meant to be complex in Spanish, it is written differently, as a combination of letters, such as in the word ley This word was then compared to le in order to show that the vowel sounds are different, and that that difference can actually be the distingu ishing factor between two meanings. Practice for this day included participan ts' listening to the researcher pronounce comparable words in English and Spanish, such as me and May and describing the differences they heard, as well as describing the position of the mouth when they tried pronouncing the words. In the next two activ ities, participants repeated after the researcher, pronouncing various words with wo rd-final /e/ and /o/, being reminded to avoid producing any sort of glide. For the th ird activity, participants indicated whether the researcher was pronouncing an English or a Spanish word from two columns on the activity handout they were prov ided with; they then continue d the list with a partner. Finally, the participants pronounced phrases emphasizing the vowel sounds in question (e.g., "Cmo que no ?" and "No no se lo d ."). Also on this third day of the study both groups carried out the posttest. The posttest was identical in format to the pretest, but w ith different word lists and speech elicitation topics. Upon completion of the posttest, both groups filled out the PAI mentioned above. One month later, the groups returned to the la nguage laboratory to take the second posttest, in order to see if possible improve ment made between the pretest and posttest was maintained after a period of time. During that intervening month, the participants met with their regular instructors and carried out the normally scheduled class activities, and pronunciation was not brought into focus in class, unless ther e was a breakdown in

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22 communication. Due to lack of participant a ttendance in class on the day of the second posttest, the results of that test are not analyzed here as mentioned previously. Analysis Scoring Procedure The data were rated by three native Span ish-speaking judges, who were provided with recordings and transcripts of the word lists and free speech tasks for each test (Appendix E). They used an original four-poi nt numeric scale to rate the participants utterances, broken down as follows: 1 = a non target-like vowel, sounds more like English 2 = closer to an English vow el than to a Spanish vowel 3 = closer to a Spanish vowel than to an English vowel 4 = a target-like vowel, could be consid ered indistinguishab le from a vowel produced by a native speaker of Spanish. For each participant, the judges rated the final vowel on each of the 15 target words from each word list on the test, along with th e first five tokens of the three vowels considered from the free speech tasks on each test. The tokens taken from the free speech portion were of three syllables or fewer, and when possible, no token was repeated, although this was inevitable in some cases due to short recordings The tokens were selected in this manner in order to provide consistency to all the participants' data, as some participants' recordings only included these fifteen tokens. The recordings were labeled only with a number and no other identify ing indicators, so th at the judges did not know to which group or test they were listening. The judges were from Colombia, Puer to Rico, and Spain. All were doctoral students of literature in th e Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Florida. Together, they attend ed a training session with the researcher on

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23 how to use the rating system. During this tr aining session, the resear cher explained the four scores and played examples of recordi ngs that would be rated at each of the four levels in order to provide the judges with a concrete representation of each. Third, the researcher played several different samples fr om one of the recordi ngs and had the judges rate them individually. These ratings were then compared among the three judges to make sure that each one understood how to use the system. In all but two cases, the judges were in agreement, and in the two speci al cases, they agreed that the samples were either a 2 or 3, i.e., that the sound in que stion was neither exactly target-like nor non target-like. Finally, the judges were provided with a written description of what a 1, 2, 3, or 4 would sound like for each of the vowels, a e and o It was thought that a four-point scale would allow for more subtleties in the participants' production to be represented as opposed to the use of a dichotomous or threepart scoring system; it was also hoped that this design would aid in avoiding "lumping" the sounds into a middle score. The judges were carefully instructed not to let the pa rticipants' overall accen t or use of grammar influence their rating, and the transcripts were carefully marked and the vowels highlighted to remind them of the focus of th e rating. It was later di scovered that one of the judges had used a different rating scale th an the other two, and that judge's ratings were discarded. This meant that only two judge s' ratings were available for each vowel produced. Data Analysis The two groups' scores on all variables were analyzed in order to discover the effects, if any, of the formal pronunciation inst ruction. First, the data were separated into performance on the word list task and perf ormance on the free speech task, and under those categories, each vowel was analy zed separately. A 2x2x 3 ANOVA was performed

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24 for each type of task, followed by independent t -tests to compare the two groups and paired-sample t -tests for within-group analyses. The alpha for achieving statistical significance was set at .05. Fina lly, a Pearson Product Moment correlation was calculated between performance on both sections on the posttest combined and the participants' score on the PAI.

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25 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS I refer back to the original research questions in this discussion of the results of the study. The first question investig ated the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on the vowel production of secondsemester learners of Span ish who are native English speakers. First mean performance on each te st was examined according to each vowel and with test scores separated into the word list task and the free speech elicitation task. Table 4.1 shows the means and standard deviations for each group on each test in the word list section. The number of participants remains consta nt throughout the table: 8 in the control group and 16 in the experimental group. Totals are first given for each vowel on each test for each group. Totals are also given for mean performance on the test, considering all vowels together This information is presen ted in Table 4.2 for the free speech task. Table 4-1. Mean accuracy and standa rd deviations on word list task. Experimental (n=16) Control (n=8) Pre Post Pre Post Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD /a/ 3.26 0.440 3.48 0.217 3.18 0.382 3.23 0.436 /e/ 3.44 0.378 3.54 0.249 3.11 0.632 3.13 0.709 /o/ 3.60 0.387 3.31 0.487 3.21 0.802 3.06 0.742 Overall 3.26 0.389 3.32 0.264 3.09 0.547 2.94 0.473

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26 Table 4-2. Mean accuracy and standard deviations on free speech task. Experimental (n=16) Control (n=8) Pre Post Pre Post Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD /a/ 3.52 0.253 3.62 0.231 3.46 0.295 3.29 0.360 /e/ 3.76 0.253 3.75 0.273 3.63 0.440 3.63 0.459 /o/ 3.69 0.299 3.59 0.384 3.65 0.280 3.17 0.603 Overall 3.66 0.212 3.65 0.243 3.58 0.300 3.36 0.397 As can be seen in the tables above, simple means revealed that /a/ and /e/ improved on the word list task, and /a/ improved on the free speech task. In order to discover the overall effects of instruction, 2x2x3 repeat ed measures ANOVA (within-group factors: time [pre, post], vowel [a, e, o]) were performe d for the word list task and the free speech task separately. The level of significance was set at 0.05, and the between-group factor was instruction. Table 4.3 presents the resu lts of the ANOVA for the word list task. Table 4-3. ANOVA summary ta ble for word list task. Source of variation SS Df MS F Group Vowel Time Vowel*Group Time*Group Time*Vowel Time* Vowel* Group Error 2.618 .009 .002 .214 .010 .731 .142 20.656 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 22 2.618 .004 .002 .107 .010 .366 .071 .939 2.789 .044 .016 1.083 .086 8.222* 1.599 *p<.05. The interaction between time and vowel wa s the only significant factor in this ANOVA (p=.001), so independent t -tests were performed on the data to examine the differences between pretest and posttest fo r the two groups for the word list section. There was no difference between the experime ntal and control groups at the pretest, considering the three vowels both together and individua lly. The mean for the three vowels combined was 3.09 for the contro l group and 3.27 for the experimental group, with a t value of -.894; df=22; p=.381. There were differences on the posttest, however;

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27 in an independent samples t -test using the means for both groups, the experimental group's vowel production was rated as more nativelike than the control group's by the judges (p=.018). This finding was examined more closely by looking at the three vowels separately, and it was discovered that th e experimental group was rated as more nativelike than the control group specifically in their producti on of /e/ and /a/. The mean for /e/ was 3.13 for the control group a nd 3.54 for the experimental group with a t -value of -2.103 (df=22, p=.047). The mean for /a/ wa s 3.23 for the control group and 3.48 for the experimental group ( t =-1.968, df=22, p=.062). While the la tter is not statistically significant, the experimental gr oup's improvement is worth noting. In addition, an ANOVA comparing the thre e vowels on the pretest for only the experimental group revealed a significan t difference among the vowels (p=.001). A subsequent paired samples t -test showed that the pronunciation of /o/ was judged more target like than the pronunciation of /a/ ( t =-4.399, df=15, p=.001). An ANOVA comparing the three vowels on the posttest for just the experimental group yielded significance at the level of .005. The paired samples t -test was then run on the results of the posttest for the experimental group, reveali ng that /e/ was rated by the judges as more nativelike than /o/ ( t =2.905, df=15, p=.011). Next the experimental group was examined on the pretest versus the posttest for each vowel, using a series of paired samples t -tests. /o/ worsened significantly over time (p=.027), while /a/ improved, nearly signifi cantly (p=.051). The means for /o/ on the pretest and posttest were, respectively, 3.6 and 3.31. The means for /a/ on the pretest and posttest were 3.26 and 3.48. /e/ showed no signi ficant change. When the same type of t -

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28 test was run on the data for the control group, there was no difference among the vowels over time. Table 4.4 presents the results of th e 2x2x3 ANOVA for the free speech task. Table 4-4. ANOVA summary ta ble for free speech task. Source of variation SS Df MS F Group Vowel Time Vowel*Group Time*Group Time*Vowel Time* Vowel* Group Error 1.072 1.080 .375 .052 .368 .525 .213 8.499 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 22 1.072 .540 .375 .026 .368 .263 .107 .386 2.775 7.330* 6.227* .351 6.108* 6.521* 2.648 *p<.05. The effect of group on production was not si gnificant for the free speech section; however, the factor of vowel was (p=.002). In order to disc over where the effects of vowel lay, an independent samples t -test was performed comparing the two groups on the pretest. There were no significant differences between the two groups for any of the three vowels. Next, the same type of t -test was performed on the sc ores of the posttest. The results were as follows: /a/: t=-2.743, df=22, p=.012 /e/: t=-.841, df=22, p=.410 /o/: t=-2.061, df=22, p=.051. This shows that the experimental group performed significantl y better in their production of /a/ and almost significantly bette r on /o/ than the c ontrol group. The means for each participant for each vowel on each te st were used to run another series of independent samples t -tests on the posttest scores of the free speech section, which showed that the experimental group did in fact perform significantly better than the control group overall (p=.036).

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29 The control group showed a si gnificant decrease in the sc ore for /o/ on the posttest in a paired samples t -test comparing each vowel to the others from the pretest to the posttest. When examined in terms of the pret est versus the posttest, the experimental group showed no statistical improvement for an y of the three vowels. However, the next analysis proved interesting. When the experi mental group was examined in terms of its production on the pretest only, the paired samples t -test yielded significant results for the /e/ over /a/, and for /o/ over /a/ (p=.015, p=.014, respectively). The same test performed on only the posttest scores revealed no si gnificant differences among vowels. This indicates that /a/ caught up to the other vowels in terms of co rrection after the instruction, as its mean was lower on the pretest than the other two vowels. The second research question asked if the effects of formal instruction varied depending on the type of task performed. Considering the resu lts presented above, differences can be observed between the two groups in terms of specific vowels. The experimental group was rated as significantly more nativelike in its vowel production than the control group for /e/ on the word lis t task and /a/ on the free speech task. In addition, the experimental group improved almo st significantly for /a/ on the word list task and for /o/ on the free speech task. Thus, the effects of formal instruction did vary according to the type of task performed, but not in a systematic manner. The third research question asked whet her learners pronuncia tion attitudes are related to their produ ction of vowels. To investigate a possible connection between the two variables, a Pearson Pr oduct Moment correlation was performed on the mean score of each participant for each section of the pos ttest and the score on the PAI. Due to the different nature of the two tasks, their result s were considered separately. There was no

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30 Figure 4-1. Correlation between attitude and test score on wo rd list, experimental group. Figure 4-2. Correlation between attitude and test score on free speech, experimental group.

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31 relationship between attitude and pronunciation for the control group for either the word list section (r= .256, r2= .0655, p= .541), or the free speech section (r= .322, r2= .1037, p= .437). The correlation was significant, howev er, for the experimental group for both sections: for the word list (r= .607, r2= .3684, p= .013) and the free speech section (r= .708, r2= .5013, p= .002). The results for the experi mental group are presented visually in Figures 4.1 and 4.2, indicating the positiv e correlation between pronunciation and attitude. Out of the 16 participants in the experimental group, a ll 16 stated that they had found the activities useful. In answer to the second question, 100% of the experimental group also affirmed that they had learned so mething during the course of the study due to the instruction. The following are some of the re presentative responses given in answer to question 1: "Yes, I feel speaking in the lab environmen t takes some pressure off you and allows for better practice. (Participant 6) "Yes, it was useful to know what the di fferent sounds were caused by, making it possible to fix." (Participant 16) "Yes, I go home and practice pronounci ng Spanish words." (Participant 11) Some of the responses to que stion 2 are listed below: "Yes, I learned to shorten my vowels. I never really kne w the huge difference in the way English and Spanish vowels sound." (Participant 2) "Of course, being that vowels are the backbone to the language this study has improved my pronunciation thor oughly." (Participant 12) "Yes, jaw position and shortness of vowels." (Participant 5)

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32 Having now seen the answers to the research questions briefly, in the next section the major results of this study w ill be discussed in more deta il. I will also describe how they fit into the previous rese arch discussed in Chapter 2.

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33 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION In this section the findings of the current study will be discussed, in an attempt to place them within the larger th eoretical framework of research previously carried out in the area of L2 phonological acquisition. Limita tions of the present study will also be described and suggestions presented for future research in the area. The first research question investigat ed the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on the vowel production of secondsemester learners of Spanish. This study found that instruction was effec tive for improving /e/ and /a/ in the word list task, and for /a/ and /o/ in the free speech task. Although it is important to note that the improvement for /a/ did not reach statistical significance, it was quite close, partic ularly given the small range of scores possible. One interesting finding was the differenc es among vowels in the experimental group on the free speech portion. On the pretest both /e/ and /o/ were ra ted as statistically more accurate than /a/; however, in the posttest there was no difference among the three vowels. This would seem to i ndicate that /a/ started off at a lower point but was able to "catch up" to the mean level of accuracy of the other two vowels in the learners' production, implying that the instruction had an effect on this particular vowel. One possible reason for this is that the main error learners make in producing word-final /a/ is to articulate it as [ ]. This was one of the main point s of the instruction for /a/, and practice focused on not reducing the vowel. It may be conclude d that this part of the instruction was especially benefici al to the experimental group.

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34 The fact that some improvement in the vow el production of thes e participants was found is consistent with what has been found in other studies in this area of research. In Gonzlez-Bueno (1997), statistically signi ficant improvement was shown for the aspiration of two of the six Spanish stop c onsonants. In Elliott (1995b) the experimental group improved statistically ove r the control group due to pronunciation instruction in several different phonemes and allophones of Spanish. Additionally, in Lord (2005), the experimental group receiving instruction im proved in production of Spanish trilled [ ], use of the fricative allophones [ ], [ ], and [ ], and diphthongs within and between words. However, these studies all included par ticipants at a higher level than those of the present study. Since the participan ts here were at the first-year level, most of them were not taking Spanish because of a desire to lear n the language, but rather the need to fulfill a requirement set by their co lleges. Some students exhib ited advanced pronunciation, but others did not, and these students were pr obably not highly motivat ed to perform well on a test of pronunciation, when they were uninterested in the language itself. The results of previous work investiga ting the relationship between attitude and phonological acquisition were confirmed in this study with the positive correlations between the experimental group's scores on th e posttest and scores on the PAI. Recall that Suter's (1976) study investigated se veral factors related to L2 phonological acquisition and found that concern for pronuncia tion was strongly related to accuracy. Elliott also studied the relationship of attit ude to pronunciation accuracy in depth (1995a, 1995b) and found that higher scores on his Pr onunciation Attitude I nventory correlated positively with higher scores on a posttest of pronunciation, though they did not relate these scores to formal instruction. Ho wever Hammond and Flege (1989) found that

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35 learners with a negative att itude towards the L1 culture performed best on imitation tasks. While this type of attitude is not directly related to pronuncia tion attitude, it still shows an emotional component that exists in relation to pronunciation. The present study found a moderate correla tion in the word list section and a moderately strong correlation in the free speech section between the scores on the PAI and the pronunciation posttest for the experi mental group, but not for the control group. In addition, the free response que stions included on the PAI provided an opportunity for the participants to give feedback on the inst ruction provided to them. This feedback was 100% positive with regard to the helpfulne ss of the instruction and whether it would influence their future pronunciation in Spanis h. The responses given show that whether or not improvement resulting from formal in struction is statistically significant on the posttest, students are concerned for pronunciation and feel that it is important to discuss it in class. From their responses, it may also be concluded that first-year students may not be conscious of the differences between the sound systems of the first and second language. If instructors can increase student s' awareness early on of how English and Spanish differ, perhaps it may be possible to change patterns of foreign accent at the beginning level. Therefore it is recommendable that edu cators spend more time on teaching pronunciation in an explicit manner. Theoretical Framework With regard to the theoretical fram ework surrounding L2 phonological acquisition, in Chapter 2 the effect of the type of task was examined briefly (Tarone 1979). It is possible that the type of task influenced the results in this study, and that results from data gathered outside the la boratory in a less formal cont ext would differ. However, perhaps the act of speaking into a microphone to oneself "took some of the pressure off",

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36 as one participant pointed out In addition, the focus was on what the participant was capable of producing while concentrating on pronunciation, not necessarily what he or she would normally produce in a casual conversa tion. Data collected from a context such as that would perhaps differ and would be inte resting to investigate in future studies. It was assumed that the effects of formal instruction would be more evident in the word list task results, according to Majo r's Ontogeny Model (1987), since the free speech task represented a more casual, less isolated context of speech. This assumption that less careful speech would lead to more errors of transfer was not borne out in the data, since at least one vowel (and not the same one) sign ificantly improved on each task within the experimental group. The fact that not all vowels improved signi ficantly on each task is interesting, and the underlying reasons are unclear. Perhaps th e results were affected by the types of words included in the tasks; the word lists made extensive use of nouns and adjectives, while the free speech task also included unconj ugated verbs. It is possible that as the participants conjugated the verbs, they t ook more time to produce the final vowel in question and thus lengthened it. This could ha ve been the case particularly with /o/, which worsened on the posttest in both groupsamong the experimental group on the word list and among the control group on the free speech portion. It is likely that in the case of /a/, information provided to the experimental group about the [ ] during treatment aided in improving the vowel. Finally, the results of this study appear to support the Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis (Major & Kim 1999) and Flege's Equivalence Classification (1987). This hypothesis states that features which two languages share may be more difficult for L2

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37 learners to acquire than thos e which do not exist or are dissi milar in the L1. The Spanish vowels, while represented ort hographically exactly like Englis h vowels, nevertheless are quite different. It may be very difficult fo r English speakers to acquire the Spanish phones when they assume these are the same in both languages. More research is needed in order to understand why some vowels impr oved while others did not, since none of the vowels is exactly like Eng lish. The study does, however, point toward a trend in improvement in pronunciation due to formal instruction. Limitations The most salient limitation of this study is the length of the instruction period. It is more than likely that with more than 3 short periods of instruction and greater opportunities for practice, as we ll as review of prior less ons, the experimental group's vowels would have been more accurate on the posttest. Other studies in the field that have shown success in pronunciation due to fo rmal instruction have carried out that instruction over the course of a semest er (Elliott 1995b, Gonz lez-Bueno 1997, Lord 2005), which seems like a more reasonable time period for acquisition of L2 phonology, as opposed to three days. Another limitation of this work relates to the judges. At the time of their selection, it was thought that native speakers would be well qualified for the task of rating nonnative speech. In retrospect, it seems that it would have been better to select judges who possessed more experience with the objective analysis of linguistic data, as one of the judges deviated from the rating system e xplained in the training session. In the future the use of a spectrograph to measure the vow els would be more objective and therefore more accurate, although that was beyond the scop e of time to carry out this particular study.

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38 A third limitation was participant mortalit y. A second posttest had been planned but the data from that test was insufficient for statistical analysis, as so few participants came to class the day the test was carried out. It is possible that compensation of the participants would have contributed positiv ely to attendance. Attendance was also a problem for the pretest and posttest, and se veral potential participants had to be eliminated due to incomplete data. Thus, more sections of this class should have been included in the study in order to see results from a larger and more consistent sample. Future Research Based on the results of this study, in futu re research it would be worth exploring whether this type of instru ction is effective at improvi ng students' pronunciation at the first-year level over the course of a semester, and with mo re participants. The findings here and previous work suggest that this kind of design would yiel d the same type of results over a longer period of time, as in Elliott (1995b), Lord (2005) and GonzlezBueno (1997). The fact that in some studies not all L2 features improve may be an indicator that there is some sort of phonologi cal order of acquisition at wor k. It is possible that some features are more susceptible to change due to instruction than ot hers. As there is a relative lack of investigation into the acqui sition of Spanish vowels, it would be helpful to have an idea of whether some improve more than others, such as the /a/ in the free speech portion of this study. Conclusion In this study, formal pronunciation inst ruction has indeed been found to be beneficial for participants' production of the Sp anish word-final vowels /a/, /e/, and /o/, although the task type did a ppear to affect the results In the experimental group,

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39 participants' pronunciation attitudes were shown to positively correlate with their performance on the posttest. Pronunciation instruc tion seems to be a ne cessary part of the L2 classroom curriculum, and one that shoul d be included regularly. This type of instruction is appreciated by students, and it certainly in no way hurts their language acquisition. In addition, explicit pronunciation instruction give s students information they would not otherwise have about the sounds of the L2, and provides them with the opportunity to improve their pronunciation. Fo llowing from this idea, as Elliott (2003) proposed, making students more comforta ble with their Spanish pronunciation by instruction and practice may ma ke them more inclined to seek out opportunities to interact with native speakers. This intera ction affords them input on many levels: morphological, lexical, and syntactic, and th e subsequent increased input may positively affect acquisition, not just of the L2 phonol ogy, but of many other areas as well. The benefits, therefore, of incl uding pronunciation instruction in beginning Spanish classes are potentially innumerable.

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40 APPENDIX A PRONUNCIATION TESTS Pre-test Please read the following words out loud at your normal speaking pace. You may pause between words. boda caliente calle camino camin dolores esposo gato hablar hermana informe maana marido mesa mocoso muerte papel

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41 pariente persona sof In this section you will sp eak freely, in Spanish, about two different topics. Try to talk for at least 3 minutes in respo nse to EACH theme. Dont worry if you make a mistake or cant think of a wo rd, just try to keep talking. Some vocabulary words that you might need are provided to help you, but you do not have to use them. Describe your family. Do you have br others and sisters? What are your parents like? Where do they live? What do they do? hermano/hermana pequeo/a vivir simptico/simptica grande visitar mayor menor padres Describe your schedule for this seme ster. What classes are you taking? What are they like? Do you have a favorite? clase divertido/a estudiar semestre trabajar favorito/a aburrido/a interesante difcil

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42 Post-test Please read the following words out loud at your normal speaking pace. You may pause between words. bonito billete botella brazo carne cine ciudad cocina comida contar dedo elegante emocin equipo esperan ganas mano programa sala viaje

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43 In this section you will sp eak freely, in Spanish, about two different topics. Try to talk for at least 3 minutes in respo nse to EACH theme. Dont worry if you make a mistake or cant think of a wo rd, just try to keep talking. Some vocabulary words that you might need are provided to help you, but you do not have to use them. What do you like to do in your free time and/or on the weekends? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have a job? pasatiempo trabajo tiempo libre fin de semana me gusta leer divertido/a aburrido/a discoteca Talk about the future. What does you r life look like in 5 years? Where are you and what do you do? futuro vivir trabajo vida trabajar casa esposo/esposa nio/nia apartamento

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44 2nd Post-test Please read the following words out loud at your normal speaking pace. You may pause between words. amable buena cama desde dinero domingo encante foto gafas jardn lista pared pasado pintura puede silln tienda vaso viernes vine

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45 In this section you will sp eak freely, in Spanish, about two different topics. Try to talk for at least 3 minutes in respo nse to EACH theme. Dont worry if you make a mistake or cant think of a wo rd, just try to keep talking. Some vocabulary words that you might need are provided to help you, but you do not have to use them. Describe your best friend. How did you meet? What does he or she look like? What is his or her persona lity like? What do you enjoy doing together? amigo/a guapo/guapa amable se llama pelo nos gusta conocer alto/a bajo/a Describe your experiences learning Spa nish. Did you take Spanish in high school? Did you take a trip to a Sp anish-speaking country? Do you have friends or family that speak Spanish? hablar clase amigo aprender viajar familia divertido/a aburri do/a difcil/fcil

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46 APPENDIX B LANGUAGE BACKGROUND INFORMATION FORM Language Background Information Name: ______________________ Date: ____________________ Please answer the following questions. You do not have to answer any item you do not wish to answer. None of this information will be used in connection with your name or be used to identify you personally. 1. What is your first language? __________________________________________________________________ 2. Where are you from? __________________________________________________________________ 3. What is the first language of your parents? __________________________________________________________________ 4. How many Spanish classes have you taken in the past, and where? __________________________________________________________________ 5. How many hours a week do you spend speaki ng Spanish outside of class, and with whom (friends, conversation partner, etc.)? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 6. Do any members of your family speak Sp anish? If so, how are you related? Do you speak Spanish with them? How often? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 7. How often did you hear Spanish when you were growing up? How often do you hear Spanish outside of class now? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

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47 8. Have you ever traveled to a country wh ere Spanish is spoken? If so, which country, and for how long? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 9. Have you ever learned or studied anothe r language besides Sp anish? If so, how long have you been speaking it, and how fluent are you in that language? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

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48 APPENDIX C PRONUNCIATION ATTITUDE INVENTORY Pronunciation Attitude Inventory Name:_______________________ Please answer all items using the followi ng response categories. You do not have to answer any item you do not wish to answer. 5 = Always or almost always true of me 4 = Usually true of me 3 = Somewhat true of me 2 = Usually not true of me 1 = Never or almost never true of me 1. I'd like to sound as native as possible when speaking Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1 2. Acquiring proper pronunciation in Spanish is important to me. 5 4 3 2 1 3. I will never be able to speak Spanis h with a good accent. 5 4 3 2 1 4. I believe I can improve my pronunciation skills in Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1 5. I believe more emphasis should be given to proper pronunciation in class. 5 4 3 2 1 6. One of my personal goals is to acquire proper pronunciation skills and preferably be able to pass as a near-nativ e speaker of the language. 5 4 3 2 1 7. I try to imitate Spanish speakers as mu ch as possible. 5 4 3 2 1 8. Communicating is much more impor tant than sounding like a native speaker of Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1 9. Good pronunciation skills in Spanish are not as important as l earning vocabulary and grammar. 5 4 3 2 1 10. I avoid speaking Spanish because I don't like how my accent sounds.5 4 3 2 1 11. I want to improve my accent when speaking Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1 12. I'm concerned with my progress in my pr onunciation of Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1 13. Sounding like a native speaker is very important to me. 5 4 3 2 1

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49 14. I feel nervous when speaking Spanish because my accent isn't native enough. 5 4 3 2 1 15. Did you find these activities useful? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 16. Have you learned anything during this study that will influence your future pronunciation of Spanish? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

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50 APPENDIX D ACTIVITIES Day 1 I. Repeat the five Spanish vowels after the researcher. a e i o u II. Repeat the following sentences after th e researcher, paying careful attention to how the vowels are pronounced. a: La casa es blanca e: E l se or e s e le gante i: Mi bi ci cleta es i deal. o: Lo s lo bo s so n to nto s. u: Me gu sta mu cho la m sica. III. Pronounce the following Spanish sylla bles, being careful to pronounce each vowel with a short, tense sound. 1. ma fa la pa ta 2. me fe le pe te 3. mi fi li ti pi 4. mo fo lo to po 5. mu fu lu tu pu 6. mi fe la tu do 7. su mi te so la 8. se tu no ya li IV. Listen to your partner and decide if th e words s/he says are English or Spanish based on the vowels s/he produces. (O ne partner goes through the list choosing ei ther the Spanish or English words; next, they change roles. ) English Spanish low lo tea ti

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51 Fay fe ace es cone con may me no no lay le say se day de Kay que dose dos Sue su sea si Day 2 I. Answer the questions below. The symbol for the unstressed, neutral schwa sound is / / In the following English words, write the symbol under neath the vowel where it is normally pronounced. model: f a m i l y about collect purpose sofa atom Under the following words, write the symbol where you think an English speaker might produce the schwa sound instead of the Spanish vowel. model: l i s t a papa hermana familia hasta inteligente II. Pronounce the following wo rds slowly and carefully. Try to keep the vowels short and tense, and avoid using the schwa sound in any of the words. 1. mam 2. mama 3. mamar 4. nena 5. nia 6. oa 7. beba 8. mancha 9. manchara

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52 10. manchar 11. casa 12. case 13. casi 14. cosa 15. coso III. Pronounce the following words with your partner in such a way that you maintain the contrast between the two words. Try not to produce the schwa sound. 1. sobra/sobre 2. marcado/mercado 3. pasa/paso 4. pesar/posar 5. banana/banano 6. contesto/conteste 7. mejoras/mejores 8. mesas/meses Day 3 I. Listen as the researcher pronounces the following Spanish and English words. Try to describe the difference between th e vowels in each word. What does the mouth look like as it pronounces the /o/ and /e/ sounds? Now you try pronouncing the words so that they sound different. no no do dough me May re ray II. Listen and repeat after the resea rcher. Avoid lengthening the final o in these words. 1. no 2. yo 3. lo 4. do 5. mono 6. solo 7. eso 8. lleg 9. tom 10. pas III. Listen and repeat after the resea rcher. Avoid prolonging the final e in these words; one way to do so is to keep your jaw in the posi tion for /e/. Don't reduce the opening of the mouth.

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53 1. ve 2. t 3. s 4. le 5. re 6. caf 7. por qu? 8. beb 9. ol 10. Jos IV.a. The researcher will read one word in each numbered sequence, choosing at random. Identify the language by saying Spanish or English Spanish English 1. d day 2. lo low 3. va bah 4. me may 5. do dough b. Now continue the activity with your partner in the same manner. Each of you must take a turn. 1. papa papa 2. fe Fay 3. habl a blow 4. qu Kay 5. ve bay 6. yo yo 7. pe pay 8. jal hello 9. se say 10. lana Lana 11. no no 12. le lay 13. polo polo 14. mama mama 15. so sew V. Pronounce the following sentences with your partner, paying special attention to your pronunciation of vowels. 1. Cmo que no? 2. Qu s yo! 3. Yo no toqu do sino re. 4. No, no se lo d.

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54 APPENDIX E TRANSCRIPTS FOR JUDGES 1 = English; 2 = more English than Spanish; 3 = more Spanish than English; 4 = Spanish Pretest: Word Lists Participant# word list 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 5 boda caliente calle camino camin dolores esposo gato hablar hermana informe maana marido mesa mocoso muerte

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55 papel pariente persona sof Free speech transcripts, with vowels for rating underlined: DISC 1 Participant 1 :40 Cuando tengo tiempo ligre -tiempo libre uh me gusta ir al cine :55 mi pelcula me gusta mucho es Braveheart 1:23 cuando aburrido me gusta levanta pes -pesas 2:20 en el casa de sorority 2:31 este fin de semana 3:09 no entiendo donde yo 4:04 cinco aos de ahora Participant 10 :44 En mi pasatiempo me gusto ir al cine con mis amigos 1:04 dormir en mi casa 1:14 en el fin de semana 1:41 Tambin me gusto or me gusta

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56 1:54 deportes como basquetbol 2:27 me mucho gusto 3:05 el ltimo cosa 3:34 en el futuro mi vida es 4:07 en una casa grande muy grande 4:27 pero hace muchas dolores Participant 12 :43 No tengo mucho tiempo libre pero cuando tengo tiempo libre me gusta ir a la playa mucho :54 Tambin me gusta ir a la cina ir a la cine 1:07 En el fin de semana 1:58 mi novela favorita es Harry Potter 2:05 El or la pelcula nuevo para Harry Potter 3:26 Me gustara un casa un poco grande Participant 18 :46 En me tiempo libre me gusta jugar al basquetbol 1:09 Me divierto cuando ah

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57 1:17 Me no trabajo en la fin de semana porque necesito estudiar 1:39 me gusta ir a la playa para el fin de semana. 2:09 yo estudio para espaol dos 2:15 Mi clase es no fcil 2:43 y dgoles sobre mi vida Participant 19 a. :37 En mi tiempo libre me gusta trabajar en mi auto Es una pasatiempo de mo por mucho aos Yo tengo un Toyota MR2 y es mi auto favorito ahora Necesite mucho dinero para trabajar en mi auto 1:32 Otras cosas me gusta hacer en mi tiempo libre 1:43 me gusta ir a una clase de salsa para bailar 2:09 voy a los discotecas por la noche 2:36 Por los fin de semanas me gusta ir a la playa Participant 20 a. :52 En mi pasatiempo en fines de semana um mi 1: 11 hacer siesta mucho mm y yo estudio

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58 1:39 no tra traba tra mm b. 2:01 cinco aos um yo trbaja mm en Atlanta 2:25 vi viro en casa 2:50 no vsite mi familia Participant 3 a. :42 Me gusta tiempo libre :52 Trabajo en Publix pero no me gusta 1:11 Fin de semana leo 1:36 A veces at--atendo discoteca. b. 2:08 esposo esposa 2:42 en muy grande casa 4:47 es muy caliente Participant 5 a. :47 me gusta tocar mi guitarra mucho :56 tengo un trabajo 1:09 porque hago mucho dinero 1:59 en la fin de semana b. 2:28 en un casa muy grande con los Playboy Bunnies

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59 2:47 no tengo una esposa 3:45 en mi piscina que es muy grande Participant 6 a. :37 En mi pasatiempo yo trabajo en TGI Friday's :58 es la fin de semana es muy divertida y me gusta bailar en los clubsNo tengo ms tiempo libro libre pero 1:28 nadar en la piscina 1:46 voy a ir a la playa b. 2:25 una casa y no es necesario pero um pero no es un problema 2:39 que tengo un esposo 3:19 un oficina grande Participant 9 a. :41 me gusta ir a la playa me gusta :58 me gusta vayamos con mis amigas 1:15 trabajo ah por la mujer 1:51 me gusta leo uh en el fin de semana duermo mucho y asisto b. 3:09 en la casa grande con la piscina

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60 LIST OF REFERENCES Arteaga, D. L. (2000). Articulatory phone tics in the first-year Spanish classroom. The Modern Language Journal 84 (3), 339. Asher, J. & Garcia, G. (1969): The op timal age to learn a foreign language. Modern Language Journal 33 334. Birdsong, D. (Ed.), (1999). Second language acquisition and the critical period hypothesis Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Eckman, F. R. (1977). Markedness and the contrastive analysis hypothesis. Language Learning 27 315. Elliott, A. R. (2003). Staking out the territory at the turn of the century: Integrating phonological theory, research, and the effect of formal instruction on pronunciation in the acquisition of Spanish as a sec ond language. In Barbara A. Lafford and Rafael Salaberry (Eds.), Spanish Second Language Acquisition: State of the Science 19. Washington, DC: George town University Press. Elliott, A. R. (1997). On the teaching and acquisition of pronunciation within a communicative approach. Hispania 80 (1), 95. Elliott, A. R. (1995a). Field independence/ dependence, hemispheric specialization, and attitude in relation to pr onunciation accuracy in Span ish as a foreign language. The Modern Language Journal, 79 (3), 356. Elliott, A. R. (1995b). Foreign language phonolo gy: Field independence, attitude, and the success of formal instructi on in Spanish pronunciation. The Modern Language Journal, 79 (4), 530. Flege, J. E., Munro, M. J. & MacKay, I. R. A. (2001). Factors affec ting degree of foreign accent in an L2: A review. Journal of Phonetics 29 (2), 191. Flege, J. E., Munro, M. J. & MacKay, I. R.A. (1995). Factors affecting strength of perceived foreign accent in a second language. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 97, 3125. Flege, J. E. (1987). The production of "new" and "similar" phones in a foreign language: Evidence for the effect of equivalence classification. Journal of Phonetics, 15, 47 65.

PAGE 71

61 Gonzlez-Bueno, M. (1997). The effects of formal instruction on the acquisition of Spanish stop consonants. In William R. Glass and Ana Teresa Prez-Leroux (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on the acquisi tion of Spanish, volume 2: Production, processing, and comprehension (pp. 57). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla. Guitart, J. Sonido y sentido : Teora y prctica de la pronunciacin del espaol Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. Hammond, R., & Flege, J. E. (1989). The acquisition of second language phonological systems in a communicative frameworkThe role of attitudes and experience. Romance Languages Annual 1 671. Harlow, L. & Muyskens, J. (1994). Priorities for intermediate-level language instruction. The Modern Language Journal 78 (2), 141. Johnson, J. S., & Newport, E. L. (1989). Cr itical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology, 21 60. Knorre, M., Dorwick, T. Prez-Girons, A. M., Glass, W.R., & Villarreal, H. (2005). Puntos de partida : An invitation to Spanish Boston: McGraw-Hill. Krashen, S. (1982). Principals and practice in second language acquisition Oxford: Pergamon. Lado, R. (1957). Linguistics across cultures Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Lamendella, J. T. (1977). General principles of neurofunctional or ganization and their manifestation in primary and non-primary language acquisition. Language Learning, 27 155. Lennenberg, E. (1967). Biological foundations of language New York: Wiley. Long, M. (1990). Maturational constr aints on language development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12 (3), 251. Lord, Gillian. (2005). (How) can we teach foreign language pronunciation? On the effects of a Spanish phonetics course. Hispania 88 (3), 557. Major, R.C. (2001). Foreign accent: The ontogeny and philogeny of second language phonology. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Major, R.C. (1987). A model for interlanguage phonology. In G. Ioup and S.H. Weinberger (Eds.), Interlanguage phonology: The acquisition of a second language sound system (pp. 101). Cambridge: Newbury House.

PAGE 72

62 Major, R.C. & Kim, E. (1999). The similarity differential rate hypothesis. In J. Leather (Ed.), Phonological issues in language learning 151. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Moyer, A. (1999). Ultimate attainment in L2 phonology. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21 81. Oyama, S. (1976). A sensitive period for the acquisition of a nonnative phonological system. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 5, 261. Patkowski, M. (1980). The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language. Language Learning, 30 449. Scovel, T. (1988). A time to speak: A psycholinguistic inquiry into the critical period for human speech Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Stockwell, R. P., Bowen, J. D. & Martin, J. W. (1965). The grammatical structures of English and Spanish Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Suter, R.W. (1976). Predictors of pronuncia tion accuracy in sec ond language learning. Language Learning 26 233. Tarone, E. (1979). Interlanguage as chameleon. Language Learning 29 181. Terrell, T. (1989). Teaching Spanish pronuncia tion in a communicative approach. In Peter C. Bjarkman and R obert M. Hammond (Eds.), American Spanish pronunciation: Theoretical and applied perspectives (pp 196). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Thompson, I. (1991). Foreign accents revis ited: the English pronunciation of Russian immigrants. Language Learning 41, 171. VanPatten, B. & Cadierno, T. (1993). Input processing and second language acquisition: A role for instruction. The Modern Languae Journal, 77, 45. VanPatten, B. (1987). On babies and bathwa ter: Input in foreign language learning. The Modern Language Journal 71 156.

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63 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Laurel Hodges, of Thomasville, Alabama, completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish at The University of Alabama in 2003, having spent a semester abroad at the Universidad de Alcal de Hena res in Alcal de Henares, Spain, in 2001. She then went on to complete her Master of Arts degree in Sp anish at the University of Florida in 2006, in Hispanic Linguistics, with a focus on second-language phonology.


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EFFECTS OF FORMAL INSTRUCTION ON ACQUISITION OF SPANISH VOWELS


By

LAUREL JADE HODGES















A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006






























Copyright 2006

by

Laurel Jade Hodges


































Para Manolo, con much amor, y en profundo agradecimiento por su constant apoyo y
fe















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my professors, Dr. Gillian Lord and Dr. Joaquim Camps, and the native

speaker judges who participated in this study. Without their cooperation and assistance

this project would never have come to be. I also thank my parents and Gert, for their

unwavering support and love, and Frank Thomas, for his continual comforting presence.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................... vii

LIST OF FIGU RE S ........ ........ ........................................ .. ................. viii

ABSTRACT .............. .......................................... ix

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ......................................................................... .... .. ........

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................ .......................... 4

L earner V ariables............ ....................................................................... ...... .. .. .
Age of Learning.............................. ........4
A attitude ....................................................................................................... ........
G ender ............................................................ .7
Theoretical Approaches .................................. ........................... ... ..........
Social C context ................................................................8
O ntog eny M o d el .................................................................................. 8
Sim ilarity D ifferential R ate H ypothesis ........................................ ............... 9
Effects of Formal Instruction...................................... 10

3 M ETH OD OLOGY ................................................................. .... ........14

D e s ig n .............................................................................................................1 5
P participants ............................................................................................... ....... 15
In stru m en ts ................................................................15
P ro c e d u re ....................................................................................................... 1 7
A n a ly sis ..............................................................................2 2
S co rin g P ro cedu re .......................................................................................... 2 2
D ata A n a ly sis .................................................................................................. 2 3

4 R E S U L T S .............................................................................2 5






v









5 DISCU SSION & CON CLU SION .......................................................... ..... .......... 33

T heoretical Fram ew ork ............................................... .................. ............... 35
L im itatio n s .......................................................................................3 7
F utu re R research .................................................................3 8
C conclusion ....................................................................................................... ........ 38

APPENDIX

A PR O N U N C IA TIO N TE ST S .................................................................................. 40

B LANGUAGE BACKGROUND INFORMATION FORM ....................................46

C PRONUNCIATION ATTITUDE INVENTORY .............................................. 48

D A C T IV IT IE S .............................................................................................................. 5 0

E TRAN SCRIPTS FOR JUD GES ....................................................... 54

LIST OF REFERENCES ........................ ....... .... ........60

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ........................................................................................ 63
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1 Breakdown of tasks and instruments administered. ....................................... 16

4-1 Mean accuracy and standard deviations on word list task. .....................................25

4-2 Mean accuracy and standard deviations on free speech task. ................................26

4-3 ANOVA summary table for word list task.......................................................26

4-4 ANOVA summary table for free speech task .......................................................28
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

4-1 Correlation between attitude and test score on word list, experimental group.......30

4-2 Correlation between attitude and test score on free speech, experimental group. ...30















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

EFFECTS OF FORMAL INSTRUCTION ON ACQUISITION OF SPANISH VOWELS

By

Laurel Jade Hodges

August 2006

Chair: Joaquim Camps
Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures

This study attempts to discover the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on

the unstressed-vowel production of beginning-level students of Spanish. Many studies

have investigated the effects of this kind of instruction on the acquisition of an L2

phonological system. Some have been successful in showing improvement in

pronunciation due to instruction, while others have been unable to make a substantiated,

data-based claim for the inclusion of this type of instruction in L2 classrooms.

Spanish vowels were chosen as the focus of the instruction in this study because,

although written as the same five vowels in English, they differ vastly in their

pronunciation and, when pronounced incorrectly, are one of the strongest indicators of

foreign accent in Spanish. The vowels analyzed in this project are unstressed word-final

/a/, /e/, and /o/, due to their tendencies to be either reduced or lengthened in the Spanish

of native English speakers.









The participants in this study are students in three different sections of the same

class, a second-semester, college-level Spanish class at a large state university. They are

all native speakers of English. Participants completed tests of pronunciation on three

different occasions: a pretest, a posttest, and a second posttest, each consisting of a word

list and a free response portion. On the third day of the study, after recording the posttest,

participants completed a Pronunciation Attitude Inventory (PAI). In addition, participants

in the experimental group received three 15-minute periods of instruction on and practice

with producing Spanish vowels.

The data was recorded and the particular sounds in question rated by three native

Spanish speaker judges using a four-point scale. Results indicate a correlation between

vowel production and explicit pronunciation instruction, and also between vowel

production and pronunciation attitude; these correlations may depend on context of

production and on the use of certain vowel sounds.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Second language (L2) educators often set communicative competence as a goal for

their students. This idea includes proficiency in the areas of syntax, pragmatics, and

morphology of the second language. However, phonology is also an integral part of this

concept that nonetheless seems to receive less attention in the classroom than the other

components mentioned above. In order to communicate content effectively in the second

language, learners must be understood; therefore, it is highly recommendable that

instructors spend more time explaining differences between the phonological systems of

learners' first and second languages, in order to better their communication skills as a

whole.

According to Arteaga (2000), little information about phonology is given in first-

year Spanish textbooks; few Spanish instructors would disagree with her assessment. It is

therefore important that instructors teach learners explicitly how to pronounce Spanish. In

addition, Elliott (2003) presents the idea that pedagogical consciousness-raising efforts in

L2 phonology lead to increased concern for accuracy on the part of the learners, which

may raise their self-confidence when speaking the second language. When learners'

affective filters are lowered in this manner, they will be more likely to seek out native

speakers of the L2 with whom to practice their language skills. The contact with these

native speakers leads to increased input in the L2, which may, in turn, positively affect

the learners' acquisition of the L2 phonological system (Krashen 1982, VanPatten 1987,

VanPatten & Cadierno 1993). In sum, the claim can be made that the act of teaching L2









phonology may lead to increased input and better acquisition of not only the sounds of a

second language, but also other areas of competence as well.

Various pedagogical trends have affected the teaching of pronunciation in the

classroom. In her review of phonetics instruction in the Spanish classroom, Arteaga

(2000) notes that at the turn of the twentieth century, the emphasis was on grammar and

translation; pronunciation was regarded as supplementary information. It was therefore

mostly excluded from the curriculum.

Around the 1970s, with the birth of the audiolingual method and more advanced

laboratory technology, pronunciation training was accorded more importance and began

to make an appearance in Spanish textbooks. This approach relied on drills and repetition

in order to adjust pronunciation and made use of overt and direct correction of errors

(Terrell 1989). The increased attention to pronunciation without question produced

students whose pronunciation skills were more advanced than those of students who had

studied under the grammar and translation approach; however, these gains may have been

made at the expense of the free expression of ideas.

The communicative methodology of the 1980s, with its almost exclusive focus on

the communication of meaning, again de-emphasized pronunciation instruction.

According to Terrell, the place of pronunciation instruction in the classroom remains

unresolved still today. He recommends the use of explicit pronunciation instruction

combined with activities that make extensive use of problem sounds yet focus on

meaningful communication. Arteaga (2000) agrees, and adds that L2 textbooks should

incorporate more information about phonetics and recycle that information throughout

the textbook. She also stipulates that learners need to develop self-monitoring skills. This









study attempts to add an explicit phonetic component to an already communicative

Spanish course, with the goal of increasing students' awareness of how they sound in the

L2 and various factors that cause foreign accent.

Spanish vowels were chosen as the focus of the instruction in this study because,

though written orthographically as the same five vowels in English, they differ vastly in

their pronunciation and, when pronounced incorrectly, are one of the strongest indicators

of foreign accent in Spanish (Terrell 1989). The vowels analyzed in this project are

unstressed word-final /a/, /e/ and /o/, due to their tendencies to be either reduced or

lengthened in the Spanish speech of native English speakers. Word-final /a/, in words

such as hermana ("sister"), is problematic in that it is often reduced to the English sound

schwa /a/ in learners' speech. /o/ as in bonito ("pretty") may also be reduced, and both /o/

and /e/, as in calle ("street"), are susceptible to being lengthened like their English

counterparts, with the addition of a glide: /ow/ or /ej/.

Given the difficulty associated with the acquisition of these vowels and the lack of

pronunciation information in first-year Spanish classrooms, it is hoped that this study will

demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of the inclusion of phonetics instruction in

the first-year Spanish curriculum and provide a model to that end. In the next chapter we

will examine the underlying causes of variation in acquisition of L2 phonology.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Many factors have been investigated as possible underlying causes of variation

among learners, and particularly with respect to L2 phonological acquisition. These

include individual learner variables, general theoretical approaches, and the effects of

pronunciation instruction. In this section we will take a closer look at the factors

mentioned above, as well as provide a critical view of recent studies in the area of formal

instruction of pronunciation.

Learner Variables

Age of Learning

Many researchers have claimed that complete mastery of a second language is

impossible for learners after a certain age, due to the changing biology of the brain. This

is known as the Critical Period Hypothesis (Lennenberg 1967, Asher & Garcia 1969,

Lamendella 1977, Scovel 1988, Birdsong 1999). Other investigators have found that

there may be various critical ages for the different linguistic abilities, such as

morphology, syntax, or vocabulary (Long 1990, Patkowski 1980, Johnson & Newport

1989). Flege et al. (2001) point out that the first ability to be lost would be the capability

to develop native-like pronunciation in the L2. According to this view, those learners

exposed to the L2 before the closing of the critical age are able to develop pronunciation

skills resembling those of a native speaker, while those learners exposed to the L2 after

the closing of the critical age are unable ever to attain native-like L2 pronunciation.









As there appears to be no clear, defining moment with respect to the exact age of

the learner when the critical period closes, researchers such as Oyama (1976) and Long

(1990) have suggested calling it a "sensitive period" instead, with less defined

boundaries, during which changes may occur gradually, and before and after which

linguistic capabilities differ. Long (1990) claimed that learners who begin acquiring their

L2 before the age of six will be accent-free, while learners who begin after age twelve

will most likely exhibit a foreign accent. Oyama (1976), in her study of Italian-born

immigrants, identified age of arrival as the single most important predictor of foreign

accent. Practice and motivation were related to accent only in connection to age at arrival.

However, Moyer (1999) revealed in her study one of the unusual cases of a

participant whose speech shows no maturational effects. This particular participant had

no exposure to German prior to the age of 22, yet on tests of pronunciation ability, he

outscored even one of the native speakers in the control group. The participant had

received only five years of instruction and spent little time in the country of the L2.

Moyer states that this participant described his motivation as "fascination with the

language and with Germans," and she goes on to state that "such motivation is difficult to

quantify, much less to influence, and its relationship to ultimate attainment has yet to be

determined" (98). Nonetheless, cases such as this one are a clear reminder that the critical

or sensitive period does not hold across the board for all learners and thus must be

investigated and developed further, as must other intervening variables. While age of

learning is not one of the variables considered in the present study, it forms part of a

spectrum of issues that have been considered in the field of L2 phonological acquisition.









Attitude

Learners' attitudes towards their own pronunciation ability and how those attitudes

relate to production have also been examined by various researchers. Harlow and

Muyskens (1994) note that "students worry about pronunciation a great deal because they

feel insecure about how they sound to other people" (146). Various studies point to a

relationship between pronunciation accuracy in the second language and learner attitude.

Suter (1976) studied 20 variables in connection with the L2 phonological

production of 61 non-native speakers of English. He found that concern for

pronunciation, along with native language and amount of conversation with native

English speakers in and out of the classroom, were strongly related to pronunciation

accuracy. Among those variables with little relationship to pronunciation accuracy were

formal instruction in pronunciation, gender, and an extroverted personality. However,

several studies have connected formal pronunciation instruction with greater accuracy;

these studies will be discussed more in detail below.

Elliott's findings (1995a, 1995b) corroborated those of Suter, when he also took

into account students' attitudes regarding pronunciation as a factor in whether they

improved or not after the explicit pronunciation instruction provided them. Their attitudes

toward pronunciation skills were measured using a Likert-type test called the

Pronunciation Attitude Inventory (PAI), consisting of positive and negative statements

for which the students chose a forced-response answer of 1-5, indicating the frequency

with which the attitude was true for them (e.g., "I will never be able to speak Spanish

with a good accent"). Elliott discovered that higher scores on the PAI correlated to higher

scores on the pronunciation test and were a predictor of pronunciation accuracy, but that









they did not predict higher scores as a result of the formal instruction provided to the

experimental group.

By contrast, Hammond and Flege (1989) showed that it was in fact the learners

with the least empathy toward a language group who performed best at imitating native

pronunciation. These learners actually displayed a hostile attitude toward speakers of the

L2. This study investigated a different type of attitude, that which is held toward the

speakers of a foreign language. Although this was a surprising finding, it shows that there

are many aspects of attitude that perhaps must be considered separately. It is safe to say

that research in the area of the effects of attitude on phonological acquisition of the L2 is

contradictory and inconclusive to date. The current study will investigate attitude as it

relates to pronunciation accuracy by analyzing the results of an attitude inventory.

Gender

The effects of gender in attainment of L2 pronunciation skills do not appear to be a

significant factor. Anecdotal evidence (Elliott 2003) suggests that females acquire L2

phonological capabilities better than males, but this has not been borne out in empirical

studies. As mentioned above, Suter (1976) found that gender was not related to

acquisition of pronunciation. Elliott (1995a) was also unable to show a relationship

between gender and performance on tests of pronunciation.

Of these 3 relevant learner variables in acquisition of pronunciation described here,

we attempt to relate attitude with pronunciation in this study, given that only college-

level students are included as participants, and gender has not been shown to be

significant in previous research. The relationship between pronunciation and attitude will

be examined through the analysis of participant responses on a questionnaire and scores









on a test of pronunciation. We turn now to the larger theoretical framework surrounding

L2 phonological acquisition.

Theoretical Approaches

In prior research in this area, many other factors besides individual learner

variables have been found to be significant in terms of learner production. In this section

we will examine various theories, hypotheses, and models that attempt to explain

acquisition of the phonology of an L2.

Social Context

Tarone (1979) noted early on the effects of social context and type of task on

learners' interlanguage production. The interlanguage varies systematically along a

continuum from vernacular speech to careful speech. According to Tarone, errors due to

interference are more common in careful speech, which is obtained when learners are

aware that they are being observed. Researchers in the area of acquisition of L2

phonology are faced with a difficult task in obtaining clear, analyzable data that at the

same time represent vernacular, less monitored speech. Tarone contends that research

into this area is only possible when investigators keep in mind the "chameleon-like

nature" of the interlanguage (188). Thus, it is important for studies in L2 acquisition to

interpret their findings in light of the type of tasks used in the study.

Ontogeny Model

In the area of L2 phonology task type seems to exhibit somewhat different effects.

For example, Major's Ontogeny Model (1987) states that errors become less frequent as

the task in question becomes more formal. In addition, learners are often able to produce

target sounds correctly in isolated contexts, but recur to patterns of the L1 in casual

speech. It is possible that studies in this area of second language acquisition have been









unable to arrive at an accord in part due to differences in methodology or in task design

and also due to their standpoint with regard to the effects of the formality of the tasks

involved.

Elliott's (1997) findings concur with the view of the Ontogeny Model, in that

participants exhibited more errors of transfer in less careful speech. As the learners

concentrated on communicating meaning in a free elicitation exercise of picture

description, attention to pronunciation decreased, and more transfer errors appeared, such

as retroflexion of/f/ and [r] and use of occlusives where fricatives should have been

produced.

Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis

Another possible cause underlying the potential for success in L2 phonological

acquisition is found in Major and Kim's (1999) Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis,

which states that features in the L2 that are dissimilar or not present in the L1 are

acquired at a faster rate than those which both languages share. For instance, following

this line of thought, acquisition of the trilled Spanish /r/ might occur faster for a native

English speaker than the subtleties of the occlusive and fricative stops, because, while the

trilled /r/ does not exist in English, the stops do, and they have no allophones, in contrast

to the Spanish stops. It would follow, then, that the vowels analyzed in this study might

fall within the category of features that exist in both languages, but with allophonic

differences, thus taking longer to acquire. Flege's (1987) equivalence classification

concurs with this particular hypothesis, stating that new phones in the L2 will be

produced more authentically than similar phones, that is, phones that resemble sounds in

the L1.









This approach is quite contrary to that of the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis

(Lado 1957, Stockwell, Bowen & Martin 1965), first popular three decades earlier, which

would have predicted the opposite. Contrastive Analysis traced errors in the L2 to

interference based on features of the L1, and used that knowledge to predict mistakes

learners would make in the L2.

The findings of this study are analyzed in light of the effects of task type, the

Ontogeny Model, and the Similarity Differential Rate Hypothesis in order to discover

their relative importance in the larger picture of L2 phonological acquisition. We turn

now to the final section of this review of the literature, and the most pertinent to the

present study: the effects of formal instruction.

Effects of Formal Instruction

The current study attempts to examine the effects of explicit formal instruction in

pronunciation at the beginning level of Spanish. To that end, here we describe previous

research done in this area and their results.

According to Major (2001), four kinds of investigation into L2 phonology are

possible: (1) individual segments; (2) segment combinations; (3) paralinguistic or

prosodic features; and (4) overall accent. The majority of the following studies have

investigated and measured acquisition of individual segments and overall accent.

Many studies have attempted to define the effects of formal pronunciation

instruction on the acquisition of an L2 phonological system. Some have been successful

in showing improvement in pronunciation due to instruction, while others have been

unable to make a substantiated, data-based claim for the inclusion of this type of

instruction in L2 classrooms. For instance, Thompson (1991), in her study of Russian

immigrants' pronunciation, and Flege et al. (1995), in their review of factors affecting









strength of foreign accent, were unable to identify instruction as a predictor of improved

pronunciation.

However, in one of the more recent studies, Gonzalez-Bueno (1997) was able to

show statistically significant improvement in the voice onset time (VOT) of two of the

Spanish phonemes presented in the instructional treatment of her study, /p/ and /g/,

although she noted a trend toward improvement for the other stops as well. This study

investigated the effects of Spanish pronunciation instruction at the intermediate level,

with 60 native English speakers. The focus of instruction was the Spanish stop

consonants /b, d, g, p, t, k/, which are represented phonetically with the same symbols as

English stop consonants, yet which differ vastly in two subsegmental features: aspiration

and duration. The goal, then, was to reduce the aspiration of the Spanish consonants, or

the Voice Onset Time (VOT), in the speech of the experimental group, through ten

minutes of instruction at the beginning of each class during one semester. During these

ten minutes participants received information about articulation and perception of the

Spanish stop consonants and then practiced producing them. As was stated above, the

results showed promising results for all phones, and statistically significant improvement

on two of them.

The design of Gonzalez-Bueno (1997) was similar to that of Elliott (1995b), in

which instruction was given throughout a semester to participants on several different

phonemes and allophones of Spanish, with regard to place and manner of articulation.

The researcher described his instruction as "multimodal" (532), in that participants heard,

saw, described, and sketched the production of the various Spanish sounds, thereby









incorporating multiple learner strategies and preferences. Participants receiving the

pronunciation instruction improved significantly on a posttest of pronunciation ability.

Lord (2005) also gave semester-long explicit instruction on nine phonemes in an

undergraduate Spanish phonetics class with 17 participants. The instruction was

combined with self-analysis activities that the participants carried out three times during

the semester, and several times during class practice was provided with voice analysis

software. Pretest and posttest comparisons revealed that significant gains were made in

the production of trilled [r], diphthongs within and between words, and the fricative

allophones [3], [6], and [y].

Terrell (1989) gives suggestions for the practical incorporation of pronunciation

instruction in the classroom, based on the communicative approach. In his Stage 1,

students focus on solely the processing of input, with the aid of "advanced organizers",

information about sounds in the target language. This is supposed to reduce the "noise

level" of new sounds so that learners can focus on the input. Stage 2 consists of providing

more advanced information about sounds. Two suggestions he gives are to tell students

about syllable length in Spanish versus English, as well as the schwa, and the fact that an

American r is never used in Spanish. In Stage 3, use is made of "meaningful monitor

activities", in which the instructor identifies problem areas in class pronunciation and

then designs an activity which practices that particular sound in a meaningful context.

The present study makes use of explicit information about sounds of Spanish, but without

the practice in a meaningful context. It is assumed that because the vowels /a, e, o/ are so

common word finally in Spanish, that any communicative classroom activity could

provide students the opportunity to practice their pronunciation.






13


In this section, we have seen various causes underlying variation in acquisition of

L2 phonology and several studies examining the effects of formal instruction. This study

attempts to fill in the missing information on effects of pronunciation instruction at the

beginning level. In the next chapter, the methodology used for teaching pronunciation in

this study will be presented and the scoring of the data explained.














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Previous studies in acquisition of Spanish phonology were designed and carried out

with learners of intermediate L2 proficiency in mind, thus providing remarkably little

information about how beginning learners of Spanish approach and deal with the new

phonological system. This study therefore investigates the effects of the same type of

instruction as that used in other studies, but with participants at a lower level. The

theories mentioned above (Major & Kim 1999, Flege 1987) would suggest that Spanish

vowels might be difficult to acquire, as they occur in both Spanish and English, but with

various differences. We have also seen in previous work that the effect of task type is

also a factor (Tarone 1979, Major 1987) and therefore may also play a role in the results

of the present study. Keeping these ideas in mind, the research questions that motivated

this study are as follows:

* What are the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on the vowel production of
second-semester learners of Spanish who are native English speakers?
* Do the effects of formal instruction vary depending on the type of task performed?
* How are learners' pronunciation attitudes related to their production of vowels?


In the following sections of this chapter we address the design and procedures of

the study and then discuss the analysis of the data, while Chapter 4 presents the empirical

findings.









Design

Participants

The participants in this study were students in three different sections of the same

course, a second semester college-level Spanish class at a large state university. These

particular sections were chosen for scheduling purposes, and were randomly assigned to

the experimental (2 sections) and control (1 section) treatments. In order to take the class,

the students must have had no more than two years of high school Spanish; however,

some of the students did not take Spanish in high school and had had only one semester

of college study prior to taking this class. The participants were all native speakers of

English.

Two of the sections formed the experimental group, to whom pronunciation

instruction was provided, in addition to their regular course curriculum; the remaining

section constituted the control group, to whom no pronunciation instruction was given.

Of the experimental group, 14 participants were not present for one of the days of testing,

and 7 potential participants of the control group chose not to participate in the study. In

addition, 3 participants were lost from the control group and 4 from the experimental

group due to technical problems. There were a total of 16 students in the experimental

group and 8 students in the control group.

Instruments

Independent variables in this study included two instruments designed to give extra

information about participants, with the goal of investigating possible correlations

between factors such as attitude and background and with their performance on the

remaining independent variable, the pronunciation test. Table 3.1 shows the ordering of

the components of the study.









Table 3-1. Breakdown of tasks and instruments administered.
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 1 month later
Experimental Background Pronunciation Pronunciation Follow-up
group questionnaire instruction 2 instruction 3 posttest*
Pretest Posttest

Pronunciation Pronunciation
instruction 1 Attitude
Inventory

Control group Background Posttest Follow-up
questionnaire posttest*
Pretest Pronunciation
Attitude
Inventory
*The second posttest was later discarded due to lack of participation.

As can be seen in Table 3.1, participants completed the tests of pronunciation

(Appendix A) at three different times. The tests contained different words and topics, but

shared a common design. Participants first read aloud a word list of 15 target words

equally distributed among word-final /a/, /e/ and /o/ (e.g., sala "room", calle "street", and

bonito "pretty"), and 5 distractors (e.g., ganas "you win"), for a total of 20 items. This

was followed by a free speech elicitation task in which participants spoke for

approximately 3 minutes in Spanish on each of two topics on each test, and were free to

say what they wanted. For example, one of the topics for the pretest was as follows:

"Describe your schedule for this semester. What classes are you taking? What are they

like? Do you have a favorite?" The other topics also covered themes common to student

or personal life that students had covered in class. Nine Spanish vocabulary words were

listed in Spanish under each topic (some of them target words) in order to assist the

participants in constructing their responses (e.g., clase "class", semestre "semester", and

estudiar "study"), and also in the hopes of eliciting more tokens of word-final /a/, /e/ and

/o/. All instructions for completing the tests were given in English. The tests were









recorded in a language laboratory using Divace software on each occasion. The responses

were then transcribed (although not phonetically) by the researcher in order to give the

judges the transcripts of student responses and to indicate the vowels they would rate.

In addition, on the first day of the study, all participants filled out a Language

Background Questionnaire (Appendix B). The questionnaire addressed the participants'

L exposure to Spanish outside the classroom, years of formal instruction in the

language, travel to Spanish-speaking countries, and any other languages spoken or

studied. The questionnaire was given prior to any instruction or testing, and its purpose

was to control for factors related to extensive experience with Spanish or other languages

outside of class.

Participants also completed a Pronunciation Attitude Inventory (PAI) (Appendix C)

on the third day of the experiment and after taking the posttest. This Inventory was

modeled on Elliott (1995a) and was adapted to include 2 extra questions for a total of 14

items on a Likert-type scale, as well as 2 added free-response questions with the goal of

obtaining feedback from the experimental group on the pronunciation instruction

provided to them. Possible scores on the quantitative section of the PAI ranged from 14

to 70, with higher scores indicating a positive attitude toward pronunciation.

Procedure

Each group took the pronunciation pretest in the language laboratory. During the

days that the experimental group carried out the activities related to the pronunciation

instruction, the control group carried out their normal activities relating to the textbook in

the classroom with their regular instructor. Pronunciation was at no point brought into

focus in the control group class. The textbook used in this course (Knorre, et al. 2005)

addresses some aspect of Spanish pronunciation at the end of each chapter, such as









vowels or fricative allophones of the occlusive stops. This information is not specifically

included in the syllabus of the course, so it is up to each individual instructor to make the

decision whether to use these sections. In both the experimental and the control groups,

these sections were not used.

Following the pretest, the experimental group was provided with the first period of

pronunciation instruction on Spanish vowels, which was given by the researcher in

English in the language laboratory. First the participants were informed that there is a

very close relationship between the way that Spanish is written and the way it sounds,

making it relatively easy to learn the basics of pronunciation. Also, the five Spanish

vowels are written the same as the English vowels. It was explained that these two facts

can lead the beginning learner to believe that the two languages share a vowel system,

when in reality, many sounds in Spanish are not equivalent to English sounds, including

vowels. In fact, Spanish vowels, when pronounced incorrectly, can be one of the

strongest indicators of a foreign accent (Terrell 1989).

The participants were then encouraged to think of words in English written with

each vowel, a, e, and o, with as many different sounds as they could think of. Each word

was written on the blackboard, and the participants pronounced each word and attempted

to describe how each vowel sounded. Next, they were asked to provide Spanish words

with the same vowel letters and describe how the vowels sounded. The focus was on

showing that in each word, each vowel is always pronounced in the same manner, unlike

English vowels, whose orthography may or may not represent the reality of their

pronunciation. For example, in the English words over and love, the written vowel o









represents two completely different sounds. By contrast, written Spanish o always

represents /o/, as in the words QJo and romero.

Next, it was explained that Spanish vowels are short and tense, never drawn out

with a // or /w/ glide. The participants were briefly introduced to the concept of glides, or

the idea that semivowels can combine with vowels to form one syllable. It was shown

that many vowels in English are actually these kinds of combinations of sounds, with

concrete examples and comparisons with Spanish vowels. For instance, all pronounced

the word table in English, followed by the word mesa in Spanish, in order to compare the

difference between English /ej/ and Spanish /e/.

This information was followed by a 10-minute practice period, in which the

participants repeated the Spanish vowels after the researcher, then repeated five complete

sentences, each of which practiced one of the five vowels (e.g., "La casa es blanca").

Next, the participants pronounced syllables with each vowel aloud to themselves. Finally,

they participated in an activity of perception and discrimination with a classmate

(Appendix D). This activity contained two columns, one with English words and the

other with very closely related Spanish words, such as Fay andfe. One person chose a

word to read from one of the columns; the other classmate listened and had to declare

whether his/her partner had produced a word in English or Spanish. They then changed

roles.

During the next two days the experimental group received two more periods of

instruction of five minutes each and practice periods of ten minutes each. On the second

day the researcher reviewed with the experimental group in the classroom the five

Spanish vowels and that they are always pronounced as short and tense. The focus of the









information on the second day was the existence of [a] in English and its non-existence in

Spanish. Many English vowels are susceptible to reduction to [a] when they occur in

unaccented syllables; however, Spanish vowels are always pronounced the same way,

regardless of position or stress. This was explained to the participants, and they were

given and also asked to provide various examples of English words with [a], such as

purpose and collect. Then participants completed activities of perception of [a] in English

words and predicting where [a] might fall in the Spanish production of an English

speaker in words such as hermana "sister" and inteligente "intelligent". This was

followed by activities of pronunciation practice in which the participants tried to maintain

the contrast between various sets of words by pronouncing the vowels (especially word-

final ones) faithfully, for example, sobre "over" vs. sobra "surplus" and marcado

"marked" vs. mercado "market".

On the third day in the laboratory again, participants were taught to avoid

diphthongization and lengthening of Spanish vowels, since this is a process which occurs

frequently in the English phonological system. Participants were reminded of the mention

of glides on the first day, with more in-depth information this time. Comparable words in

English and Spanish were written on the board and pronounced in parts in order to show

the differences between them. One such word was "no", in each language. It was shown

that in English three sounds actually make up the word: /n/, /o/, and the glide, /w/; in

Spanish, the same word is composed of only two sounds: /n/ and /o/. It was hoped that by

using such a simple example, participants would be able to hear the difference in the

simple Spanish and complex English vowels. The participants were then asked to

pronounce each word and attempt to feel the difference in their mouths, due to differing









jaw positions for English vowels versus their Spanish counterparts. The next step was to

show that when a vowel sound is meant to be complex in Spanish, it is written

differently, as a combination of letters, such as in the word ley. This word was then

compared to le in order to show that the vowel sounds are different, and that that

difference can actually be the distinguishing factor between two meanings.

Practice for this day included participants' listening to the researcher pronounce

comparable words in English and Spanish, such as me and May and describing the

differences they heard, as well as describing the position of the mouth when they tried

pronouncing the words. In the next two activities, participants repeated after the

researcher, pronouncing various words with word-final /e/ and /o/, being reminded to

avoid producing any sort of glide. For the third activity, participants indicated whether

the researcher was pronouncing an English or a Spanish word from two columns on the

activity handout they were provided with; they then continued the list with a partner.

Finally, the participants pronounced phrases emphasizing the vowel sounds in question

(e.g., ",C6mo que no?" and "No, no se lo de.").

Also on this third day of the study both groups carried out the posttest. The posttest

was identical in format to the pretest, but with different word lists and speech elicitation

topics. Upon completion of the posttest, both groups filled out the PAI mentioned above.

One month later, the groups returned to the language laboratory to take the second

posttest, in order to see if possible improvement made between the pretest and posttest

was maintained after a period of time. During that intervening month, the participants

met with their regular instructors and carried out the normally scheduled class activities,

and pronunciation was not brought into focus in class, unless there was a breakdown in









communication. Due to lack of participant attendance in class on the day of the second

posttest, the results of that test are not analyzed here, as mentioned previously.

Analysis

Scoring Procedure

The data were rated by three native Spanish-speaking judges, who were provided

with recordings and transcripts of the word lists and free speech tasks for each test

(Appendix E). They used an original four-point numeric scale to rate the participants'

utterances, broken down as follows:

* 1 = a non target-like vowel, sounds more like English
* 2 = closer to an English vowel than to a Spanish vowel
* 3 = closer to a Spanish vowel than to an English vowel
* 4 = a target-like vowel, could be considered indistinguishable from a vowel
produced by a native speaker of Spanish.

For each participant, the judges rated the final vowel on each of the 15 target words

from each word list on the test, along with the first five tokens of the three vowels

considered from the free speech tasks on each test. The tokens taken from the free speech

portion were of three syllables or fewer, and when possible, no token was repeated,

although this was inevitable in some cases due to short recordings. The tokens were

selected in this manner in order to provide consistency to all the participants' data, as

some participants' recordings only included these fifteen tokens. The recordings were

labeled only with a number and no other identifying indicators, so that the judges did not

know to which group or test they were listening.

The judges were from Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Spain. All were doctoral

students of literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the

University of Florida. Together, they attended a training session with the researcher on









how to use the rating system. During this training session, the researcher explained the

four scores and played examples of recordings that would be rated at each of the four

levels in order to provide the judges with a concrete representation of each. Third, the

researcher played several different samples from one of the recordings and had the judges

rate them individually. These ratings were then compared among the three judges to

make sure that each one understood how to use the system. In all but two cases, the

judges were in agreement, and in the two special cases, they agreed that the samples were

either a 2 or 3, i.e., that the sound in question was neither exactly target-like nor non

target-like. Finally, the judges were provided with a written description of what a 1, 2, 3,

or 4 would sound like for each of the vowels, a, e, and o. It was thought that a four-point

scale would allow for more subtleties in the participants' production to be represented as

opposed to the use of a dichotomous or three-part scoring system; it was also hoped that

this design would aid in avoiding "lumping" the sounds into a middle score. The judges

were carefully instructed not to let the participants' overall accent or use of grammar

influence their rating, and the transcripts were carefully marked and the vowels

highlighted to remind them of the focus of the rating. It was later discovered that one of

the judges had used a different rating scale than the other two, and that judge's ratings

were discarded. This meant that only two judges' ratings were available for each vowel

produced.

Data Analysis

The two groups' scores on all variables were analyzed in order to discover the

effects, if any, of the formal pronunciation instruction. First, the data were separated into

performance on the word list task and performance on the free speech task, and under

those categories, each vowel was analyzed separately. A 2x2x3 ANOVA was performed






24


for each type of task, followed by independent t-tests to compare the two groups and

paired-sample t-tests for within-group analyses. The alpha for achieving statistical

significance was set at .05. Finally, a Pearson Product Moment correlation was calculated

between performance on both sections on the posttest combined and the participants'

score on the PAI.














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

I refer back to the original research questions in this discussion of the results of the

study. The first question investigated the effects of formal pronunciation instruction on

the vowel production of second-semester learners of Spanish who are native English

speakers. First mean performance on each test was examined according to each vowel

and with test scores separated into the word list task and the free speech elicitation task.

Table 4.1 shows the means and standard deviations for each group on each test in the

word list section. The number of participants remains constant throughout the table: 8 in

the control group and 16 in the experimental group. Totals are first given for each vowel

on each test for each group. Totals are also given for mean performance on the test,

considering all vowels together. This information is presented in Table 4.2 for the free

speech task.

Table 4-1. Mean accuracy and standard deviations on word list task.
Experimental (n=16) Control (n=8)
Pre Post Pre Post
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
/a/ 3.26 0.440 3.48 0.217 3.18 0.382 3.23 0.436
/e/ 3.44 0.378 3.54 0.249 3.11 0.632 3.13 0.709
/o/ 3.60 0.387 3.31 0.487 3.21 0.802 3.06 0.742
Overall 3.26 0.389 3.32 0.264 3.09 0.547 2.94 0.473









Table 4-2. Mean accuracy and standard deviations on free speech task.
Experimental (n=16) Control (n=8)
Pre Post Pre Post
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
/a/ 3.52 0.253 3.62 0.231 3.46 0.295 3.29 0.360
/e/ 3.76 0.253 3.75 0.273 3.63 0.440 3.63 0.459
/o/ 3.69 0.299 3.59 0.384 3.65 0.280 3.17 0.603
Overall 3.66 0.212 3.65 0.243 3.58 0.300 3.36 0.397

As can be seen in the tables above, simple means revealed that /a/ and /e/ improved

on the word list task, and /a/ improved on the free speech task. In order to discover the

overall effects of instruction, 2x2x3 repeated measures ANOVA (within-group factors:

time [pre, post], vowel [a, e, o]) were performed for the word list task and the free speech

task separately. The level of significance was set at 0.05, and the between-group factor

was instruction. Table 4.3 presents the results of the ANOVA for the word list task.

Table 4-3. ANOVA summary table for word list task.
Source of variation SS Df MS F
Group 2.618 1 2.618 2.789
Vowel .009 2 .004 .044
Time .002 1 .002 .016
Vowel*Group .214 2 .107 1.083
Time*Group .010 1 .010 .086
Time*Vowel .731 2 .366 8.222*
Time* Vowel* Group .142 2 .071 1.599
Error 20.656 22 .939
*p<.05.

The interaction between time and vowel was the only significant factor in this

ANOVA (p=.001), so independent t-tests were performed on the data to examine the

differences between pretest and posttest for the two groups for the word list section.

There was no difference between the experimental and control groups at the pretest,

considering the three vowels both together and individually. The mean for the three

vowels combined was 3.09 for the control group and 3.27 for the experimental group,

with a t value of-.894; df=22; p=.381. There were differences on the posttest, however;









in an independent samples t-test using the means for both groups, the experimental

group's vowel production was rated as more nativelike than the control group's by the

judges (p=.018). This finding was examined more closely by looking at the three vowels

separately, and it was discovered that the experimental group was rated as more

nativelike than the control group specifically in their production of/e/ and /a/. The mean

for /e/ was 3.13 for the control group and 3.54 for the experimental group with a t-value

of -2.103 (df=22, p=.047). The mean for /a/ was 3.23 for the control group and 3.48 for

the experimental group (t=-1.968, df=22, p=.062). While the latter is not statistically

significant, the experimental group's improvement is worth noting.

In addition, an ANOVA comparing the three vowels on the pretest for only the

experimental group revealed a significant difference among the vowels (p=.001). A

subsequent paired samples t-test showed that the pronunciation of/o/ was judged more

target like than the pronunciation of/a/ (t-4.399, df=15, p=.001). An ANOVA

comparing the three vowels on the posttest for just the experimental group yielded

significance at the level of .005. The paired samples t-test was then run on the results of

the posttest for the experimental group, revealing that /e/ was rated by the judges as more

nativelike than /o/ (t2.905, df=15, p=.011).

Next the experimental group was examined on the pretest versus the posttest for

each vowel, using a series of paired samples t-tests. /o/ worsened significantly over time

(p=.027), while /a/ improved, nearly significantly (p=.051). The means for /o/ on the

pretest and posttest were, respectively, 3.6 and 3.31. The means for /a/ on the pretest and

posttest were 3.26 and 3.48. /e/ showed no significant change. When the same type of t-









test was run on the data for the control group, there was no difference among the vowels

over time.

Table 4.4 presents the results of the 2x2x3 ANOVA for the free speech task.

Table 4-4. ANOVA summary table for free speech task.
Source of variation SS Df MS F
Group 1.072 1 1.072 2.775
Vowel 1.080 2 .540 7.330*
Time .375 1 .375 6.227*
Vowel*Group .052 2 .026 .351
Time*Group .368 1 .368 6.108*
Time*Vowel .525 2 .263 6.521*
Time* Vowel* Group .213 2 .107 2.648
Error 8.499 22 .386
*p<.05.

The effect of group on production was not significant for the free speech section;

however, the factor of vowel was (p=.002). In order to discover where the effects of

vowel lay, an independent samples t-test was performed comparing the two groups on the

pretest. There were no significant differences between the two groups for any of the three

vowels. Next, the same type of t-test was performed on the scores of the posttest. The

results were as follows:

* /a/: t=-2.743, df=22, p=.012
* /e/: t=-.841, df=22, p=.410
* /o/: t=-2.061, df=22, p=.051.

This shows that the experimental group performed significantly better in their

production of/a/ and almost significantly better on /o/ than the control group. The means

for each participant for each vowel on each test were used to run another series of

independent samples t-tests on the posttest scores of the free speech section, which

showed that the experimental group did in fact perform significantly better than the

control group overall (p=.036).









The control group showed a significant decrease in the score for /o/ on the posttest

in a paired samples t-test comparing each vowel to the others from the pretest to the

posttest. When examined in terms of the pretest versus the posttest, the experimental

group showed no statistical improvement for any of the three vowels. However, the next

analysis proved interesting. When the experimental group was examined in terms of its

production on the pretest only, the paired samples t-test yielded significant results for the

/e/ over /a/, and for /o/ over /a/ (p=.015, p=.014, respectively). The same test performed

on only the posttest scores revealed no significant differences among vowels. This

indicates that /a/ caught up to the other vowels in terms of correction after the instruction,

as its mean was lower on the pretest than the other two vowels.

The second research question asked if the effects of formal instruction varied

depending on the type of task performed. Considering the results presented above,

differences can be observed between the two groups in terms of specific vowels. The

experimental group was rated as significantly more nativelike in its vowel production

than the control group for /e/ on the word list task and /a/ on the free speech task. In

addition, the experimental group improved almost significantly for /a/ on the word list

task and for /o/ on the free speech task. Thus, the effects of formal instruction did vary

according to the type of task performed, but not in a systematic manner.

The third research question asked whether learners' pronunciation attitudes are

related to their production of vowels. To investigate a possible connection between the

two variables, a Pearson Product Moment correlation was performed on the mean score

of each participant for each section of the posttest and the score on the PAI. Due to the

different nature of the two tasks, their results were considered separately. There was no























































Figure 4-1. Correlation between attitude and test score on word list, experimental group.


3.2

30


PAl


Figure 4-2. Correlation between attitude and test score on free speech, experimental

group.


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relationship between attitude and pronunciation for the control group for either the word

list section (r= .256, r2= .0655, p= .541), or the free speech section (r= .322, r2= .1037, p=

.437). The correlation was significant, however, for the experimental group for both

sections: for the word list (r= .607, r2= .3684, p= .013) and the free speech section (r=

.708, r2= .5013, p= .002). The results for the experimental group are presented visually in

Figures 4.1 and 4.2, indicating the positive correlation between pronunciation and

attitude.

Out of the 16 participants in the experimental group, all 16 stated that they had

found the activities useful. In answer to the second question, 100% of the experimental

group also affirmed that they had learned something during the course of the study due to

the instruction. The following are some of the representative responses given in answer to

question 1:

* "Yes, I feel speaking in the lab environment takes some pressure off you and allows
for better practice." (Participant 6)

* "Yes, it was useful to know what the different sounds were caused by, making it
possible to fix." (Participant 16)

* "Yes, I go home and practice pronouncing Spanish words." (Participant 11)

Some of the responses to question 2 are listed below:

* "Yes, I learned to shorten my vowels. I never really knew the huge difference in the
way English and Spanish vowels sound." (Participant 2)

* "Of course, being that vowels are the backbone to the language this study has
improved my pronunciation thoroughly." (Participant 12)

* "Yes, jaw position and shortness of vowels." (Participant 5)






32


Having now seen the answers to the research questions briefly, in the next section

the major results of this study will be discussed in more detail. I will also describe how

they fit into the previous research discussed in Chapter 2.














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION

In this section the findings of the current study will be discussed, in an attempt to

place them within the larger theoretical framework of research previously carried out in

the area of L2 phonological acquisition. Limitations of the present study will also be

described and suggestions presented for future research in the area.

The first research question investigated the effects of formal pronunciation

instruction on the vowel production of second-semester learners of Spanish. This study

found that instruction was effective for improving /e/ and /a/ in the word list task, and for

/a/ and /o/ in the free speech task. Although it is important to note that the improvement

for /a/ did not reach statistical significance, it was quite close, particularly given the small

range of scores possible.

One interesting finding was the differences among vowels in the experimental

group on the free speech portion. On the pretest both /e/ and /o/ were rated as statistically

more accurate than /a/; however, in the posttest there was no difference among the three

vowels. This would seem to indicate that /a/ started off at a lower point but was able to

"catch up" to the mean level of accuracy of the other two vowels in the learners'

production, implying that the instruction had an effect on this particular vowel. One

possible reason for this is that the main error learners make in producing word-final /a/ is

to articulate it as [a]. This was one of the main points of the instruction for /a/, and

practice focused on not reducing the vowel. It may be concluded that this part of the

instruction was especially beneficial to the experimental group.









The fact that some improvement in the vowel production of these participants was

found is consistent with what has been found in other studies in this area of research. In

Gonzalez-Bueno (1997), statistically significant improvement was shown for the

aspiration of two of the six Spanish stop consonants. In Elliott (1995b) the experimental

group improved statistically over the control group due to pronunciation instruction in

several different phonemes and allophones of Spanish. Additionally, in Lord (2005), the

experimental group receiving instruction improved in production of Spanish trilled [i],

use of the fricative allophones [3], [6], and [y], and diphthongs within and between

words. However, these studies all included participants at a higher level than those of the

present study. Since the participants here were at the first-year level, most of them were

not taking Spanish because of a desire to learn the language, but rather the need to fulfill

a requirement set by their colleges. Some students exhibited advanced pronunciation, but

others did not, and these students were probably not highly motivated to perform well on

a test of pronunciation, when they were uninterested in the language itself.

The results of previous work investigating the relationship between attitude and

phonological acquisition were confirmed in this study with the positive correlations

between the experimental group's scores on the posttest and scores on the PAI. Recall

that Suter's (1976) study investigated several factors related to L2 phonological

acquisition and found that concern for pronunciation was strongly related to accuracy.

Elliott also studied the relationship of attitude to pronunciation accuracy in depth (1995a,

1995b) and found that higher scores on his Pronunciation Attitude Inventory correlated

positively with higher scores on a posttest of pronunciation, though they did not relate

these scores to formal instruction. However Hammond and Flege (1989) found that









learners with a negative attitude towards the L1 culture performed best on imitation tasks.

While this type of attitude is not directly related to pronunciation attitude, it still shows an

emotional component that exists in relation to pronunciation.

The present study found a moderate correlation in the word list section and a

moderately strong correlation in the free speech section between the scores on the PAI

and the pronunciation posttest for the experimental group, but not for the control group.

In addition, the free response questions included on the PAI provided an opportunity for

the participants to give feedback on the instruction provided to them. This feedback was

100% positive with regard to the helpfulness of the instruction and whether it would

influence their future pronunciation in Spanish. The responses given show that whether

or not improvement resulting from formal instruction is statistically significant on the

posttest, students are concerned for pronunciation and feel that it is important to discuss it

in class. From their responses, it may also be concluded that first-year students may not

be conscious of the differences between the sound systems of the first and second

language. If instructors can increase students' awareness early on of how English and

Spanish differ, perhaps it may be possible to change patterns of foreign accent at the

beginning level. Therefore it is recommendable that educators spend more time on

teaching pronunciation in an explicit manner.

Theoretical Framework

With regard to the theoretical framework surrounding L2 phonological acquisition,

in Chapter 2 the effect of the type of task was examined briefly (Tarone 1979). It is

possible that the type of task influenced the results in this study, and that results from

data gathered outside the laboratory in a less formal context would differ. However,

perhaps the act of speaking into a microphone to oneself "took some of the pressure off',









as one participant pointed out. In addition, the focus was on what the participant was

capable of producing while concentrating on pronunciation, not necessarily what he or

she would normally produce in a casual conversation. Data collected from a context such

as that would perhaps differ and would be interesting to investigate in future studies.

It was assumed that the effects of formal instruction would be more evident in the

word list task results, according to Major's Ontogeny Model (1987), since the free speech

task represented a more casual, less isolated context of speech. This assumption that less

careful speech would lead to more errors of transfer was not borne out in the data, since

at least one vowel (and not the same one) significantly improved on each task within the

experimental group.

The fact that not all vowels improved significantly on each task is interesting, and

the underlying reasons are unclear. Perhaps the results were affected by the types of

words included in the tasks; the word lists made extensive use of nouns and adjectives,

while the free speech task also included unconjugated verbs. It is possible that as the

participants conjugated the verbs, they took more time to produce the final vowel in

question and thus lengthened it. This could have been the case particularly with /o/,

which worsened on the posttest in both groups-among the experimental group on the

word list and among the control group on the free speech portion. It is likely that in the

case of/a/, information provided to the experimental group about the [a] during treatment

aided in improving the vowel.

Finally, the results of this study appear to support the Similarity Differential Rate

Hypothesis (Major & Kim 1999) and Flege's Equivalence Classification (1987). This

hypothesis states that features which two languages share may be more difficult for L2









learners to acquire than those which do not exist or are dissimilar in the L1. The Spanish

vowels, while represented orthographically exactly like English vowels, nevertheless are

quite different. It may be very difficult for English speakers to acquire the Spanish

phones when they assume these are the same in both languages. More research is needed

in order to understand why some vowels improved while others did not, since none of the

vowels is exactly like English. The study does, however, point toward a trend in

improvement in pronunciation due to formal instruction.

Limitations

The most salient limitation of this study is the length of the instruction period. It is

more than likely that with more than 3 short periods of instruction and greater

opportunities for practice, as well as review of prior lessons, the experimental group's

vowels would have been more accurate on the posttest. Other studies in the field that

have shown success in pronunciation due to formal instruction have carried out that

instruction over the course of a semester (Elliott 1995b, Gonzalez-Bueno 1997, Lord

2005), which seems like a more reasonable time period for acquisition of L2 phonology,

as opposed to three days.

Another limitation of this work relates to the judges. At the time of their selection,

it was thought that native speakers would be well qualified for the task of rating

nonnative speech. In retrospect, it seems that it would have been better to select judges

who possessed more experience with the objective analysis of linguistic data, as one of

the judges deviated from the rating system explained in the training session. In the future

the use of a spectrograph to measure the vowels would be more objective and therefore

more accurate, although that was beyond the scope of time to carry out this particular

study.









A third limitation was participant mortality. A second posttest had been planned but

the data from that test was insufficient for statistical analysis, as so few participants came

to class the day the test was carried out. It is possible that compensation of the

participants would have contributed positively to attendance. Attendance was also a

problem for the pretest and posttest, and several potential participants had to be

eliminated due to incomplete data. Thus, more sections of this class should have been

included in the study in order to see results from a larger and more consistent sample.

Future Research

Based on the results of this study, in future research it would be worth exploring

whether this type of instruction is effective at improving students' pronunciation at the

first-year level over the course of a semester, and with more participants. The findings

here and previous work suggest that this kind of design would yield the same type of

results over a longer period of time, as in Elliott (1995b), Lord (2005) and Gonzalez-

Bueno (1997).

The fact that in some studies not all L2 features improve may be an indicator that

there is some sort of phonological order of acquisition at work. It is possible that some

features are more susceptible to change due to instruction than others. As there is a

relative lack of investigation into the acquisition of Spanish vowels, it would be helpful

to have an idea of whether some improve more than others, such as the /a/ in the free

speech portion of this study.

Conclusion

In this study, formal pronunciation instruction has indeed been found to be

beneficial for participants' production of the Spanish word-final vowels /a/, /e/, and /o/,

although the task type did appear to affect the results. In the experimental group,









participants' pronunciation attitudes were shown to positively correlate with their

performance on the posttest. Pronunciation instruction seems to be a necessary part of the

L2 classroom curriculum, and one that should be included regularly. This type of

instruction is appreciated by students, and it certainly in no way hurts their language

acquisition. In addition, explicit pronunciation instruction gives students information they

would not otherwise have about the sounds of the L2, and provides them with the

opportunity to improve their pronunciation. Following from this idea, as Elliott (2003)

proposed, making students more comfortable with their Spanish pronunciation by

instruction and practice may make them more inclined to seek out opportunities to

interact with native speakers. This interaction affords them input on many levels:

morphological, lexical, and syntactic, and the subsequent increased input may positively

affect acquisition, not just of the L2 phonology, but of many other areas as well. The

benefits, therefore, of including pronunciation instruction in beginning Spanish classes

are potentially innumerable.
















APPENDIX A
PRONUNCIATION TESTS

Pre-test

Please read the following words out loud at your normal speaking pace. You may
pause between words.

boda

caliente

calle

camino

camion

dolores

esposo

gato

hablar

hermana

informed

manana

marido

mesa

mocoso

muerte

papel









pariente

persona

sofa

In this section you will speak freely, in Spanish, about two different topics. Try
to talk for at least 3 minutes in response to EACH theme. Don't worry if you
make a mistake or can't think of a word, just try to keep talking. Some
vocabulary words that you might need are provided to help you, but you do not
have to use them.

Describe your family. Do you have brothers and sisters? What are your
parents like? Where do they live? What do they do?

hermano/hermana pequefio/a vivir

simpatico/simpatica grande visitar

mayor menor padres



SDescribe your schedule for this semester. What classes are you taking?
What are they like? Do you have a favorite?

clase divertido/a estudiar

semestre trabajar favorito/a


aburrido/a interesante


dificil










Post-test

Please read the following words out loud at your normal speaking pace. You may
pause between words.


bonito

billete

botella

brazo

came

cine

ciudad

cocina

comida

contar

dedo

elegant

emocion

equipo

esperan

ganas

mano

program

sala

viaje









In this section you will speak freely, in Spanish, about two different topics. Try
to talk for at least 3 minutes in response to EACH theme. Don't worry if you
make a mistake or can't think of a word, just try to keep talking. Some
vocabulary words that you might need are provided to help you, but you do not
have to use them.


What do you like to do in your free time and/or on the weekends? Do you
have any hobbies? Do you have a job?

pasatiempo trabajo tiempo libre

fin de semana me gusta... leer

divertido/a aburrido/a discoteca

STalk about the future. What does your life look like in 5 years? Where
are you and what do you do?

future vivir trabajo

vida trabajar casa


esposo/esposa nifio/nifia apartamento










2nd Post-test

Please read the following words out loud at your normal speaking pace. You may
pause between words.


amable

buena

cama

desde

dinero

domingo

encante

foto

gafas

jardin

lista

pared

pasado

pintura

puede

sill6n

tienda

vaso

viernes

vine









In this section you will speak freely, in Spanish, about two different topics. Try
to talk for at least 3 minutes in response to EACH theme. Don't worry if you
make a mistake or can't think of a word, just try to keep talking. Some
vocabulary words that you might need are provided to help you, but you do not
have to use them.


Describe your best friend. How did you meet? What does he or she look
like? What is his or her personality like? What do you enjoy doing
together?

amigo/a guapo/guapa amable

se llama... pelo nos gusta...

conocer alto/a bajo/a

SDescribe your experiences learning Spanish. Did you take Spanish in high
school? Did you take a trip to a Spanish-speaking country? Do you have
friends or family that speak Spanish?

hablar clase amigo

aprender viajar familiar


aburrido/a dificil/ffcil


divertido/a















APPENDIX B
LANGUAGE BACKGROUND INFORMATION FORM

Language Background Information


Name:


Date:


Please answer the following questions. You do not have to answer any item you do not
wish to answer. None of this information will be used in connection 1 iih your name or be
used to identify you personally.

1. What is your first language?


2. Where are you from?


3. What is the first language of your parents?



4. How many Spanish classes have you taken in the past, and where?



5. How many hours a week do you spend speaking Spanish outside of class, and
with whom (friends, conversation partner, etc.)?



6. Do any members of your family speak Spanish? If so, how are you related? Do
you speak Spanish with them? How often?




7. How often did you hear Spanish when you were growing up? How often do you
hear Spanish outside of class now?






47


8. Have you ever traveled to a country where Spanish is spoken? If so, which
country, and for how long?




9. Have you ever learned or studied another language besides Spanish? If so, how
long have you been speaking it, and how fluent are you in that language?














APPENDIX C
PRONUNCIATION ATTITUDE INVENTORY

Pronunciation Attitude Inventory

Name:

Please answer all items using the following response categories. You do not have to
answer any item you do not wish to answer.

5 = Always or almost always true of me
4 = Usually true of me
3 = Somewhat true of me
2 = Usually not true of me
1 = Never or almost never true of me

1. I'd like to sound as native as possible when speaking Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1
2. Acquiring proper pronunciation in Spanish is important to me. 5 4 3 2 1
3. I will never be able to speak Spanish with a good accent. 5 4 3 2 1
4. I believe I can improve my pronunciation skills in Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1
5. I believe more emphasis should be given to proper pronunciation in class.
54321
6. One of my personal goals is to acquire proper pronunciation skills and
preferably be able to pass as a near-native speaker of the language. 5 4 3 2 1
7. I try to imitate Spanish speakers as much as possible. 5 4 3 2 1
8. Communicating is much more important than sounding like a native
speaker of Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1
9. Good pronunciation skills in Spanish are not as important as learning vocabulary
and grammar. 5 4 3 2 1
10. I avoid speaking Spanish because I don't like how my accent sounds.5 4 3 2 1
11. I want to improve my accent when speaking Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1
12. I'm concerned with my progress in my pronunciation of Spanish. 5 4 3 2 1
13. Sounding like a native speaker is very important to me. 5 4 3 2 1






49


14. I feel nervous when speaking Spanish because my accent isn't native enough.
54321
15. Did you find these activities useful?




16. Have you learned anything during this study that will influence your future
pronunciation of Spanish?















APPENDIX D
ACTIVITIES

Day 1

I. Repeat the five Spanish vowels after the researcher.
a e i o u
II. Repeat the following sentences after the researcher, paying careful attention to
how the vowels are pronounced.
a: La casa es blanca.

e: El senior es elegant.

i: Mi bicicleta es ideal.

o: Los lobos son tontos.

u: Me gusta much la musica.

III. Pronounce the following Spanish syllables, being careful to pronounce each
vowel with a short, tense sound.
1. ma fa la pa ta
2. me fe le pe te
3. mi fi li ti pi
4. mo fo lo to po
5. mu fu lu tu pu
6. mi fe la tu do
7. su mi te so la
8. se tu no ya li
IV. Listen to your partner and decide if the words s/he says are English or Spanish
based on the vowels s/he produces.
(One partner goes through the list choosing either the Spanish or English words; next,
they change roles.)

English Spanish
low lo
tea ti










Fay
ace
cone
may
no
lay
say
day
Kay
dose
Sue
sea


fe
es
con
me
no
le
se
de
que
dos
su
si


Day 2

I. Answer the questions below.

The symbol for the unstressed, neutral schwa sound is / a /. In the following
English words, write the symbol underneath the vowel where it is normally
pronounced.
model: family


about


collect


purpose


sofa atom


* Under the following words, write the a symbol where you think an English
speaker might produce the schwa sound instead of the Spanish vowel.
model: i s t a


papa


hermana familiar


hasta


inteligente


II. Pronounce the following words slowly and carefully. Try to keep the vowels short
and tense, and avoid using the schwa sound in any of the words.
1. mama

2. mama

3. mamara

4. nena

5. nifia

6. fiofia

7. beba


8. mancha

9. manchara







52


10. manchara

11. casa

12. case

13. casi

14. cosa

15. coso

III. Pronounce the following words with your partner in such a way that you
maintain the contrast between the two words. Try not to produce the schwa sound.

1. sobra/sobre
2. marcado/mercado
3. pasa/paso
4. pesar/posar
5. banana/banano
6. contesto/conteste
7. mejoras/mejores
8. mesas/meses


Day 3

I. Listen as the researcher pronounces the following Spanish and English words.
Try to describe the difference between the vowels in each word. What does the
mouth look like as it pronounces the /o/ and /e/ sounds? Now you try pronouncing
the words so that they sound different.
no no
do dough
me May
re ray
II. Listen and repeat after the researcher. Avoid lengthening the final o in these
words.
1. no 6. solo
2. yo 7. eso
3. lo 8. lleg6
4. do 9. tomo
5. mono 10. paso

III. Listen and repeat after the researcher. Avoid prolonging the final e in these words; one
way to do so is to keep your jaw in the position for /e/. Don't reduce the opening of the
mouth.










1. ve
2. te
3. se
4. le
5. re
6. cafe
7. ipor que?
8. bebe
9. ole
10. Jose

IV.a. The researcher will read one word in each numbered sequence, choosing at
random. Identify the language by saying Spanish or English.
Spanish English
1. de day
2. lo low
3. va bah
4. me may
5. do dough
b. Now continue the activity with your partner in the same manner. Each of you
must take a turn.
1. papa papa
2. fe Fay
3. habl6 a blow
4. que Kay
5. ve bay
6. yo yo
7. pe pay
8. jal6 hello
9. se say
10. lana Lana
11. no no
12. le lay
13. polo polo
14. mama mama
15. so sew
V. Pronounce the following sentences with your partner, paying special attention to
your pronunciation of vowels.

1. iC6mo que no?
2. iQuese yo!
3. Yo no toque do sino re.
4. No, no se lo de.
















APPENDIX E
TRANSCRIPTS FOR JUDGES

1 = English; 2 = more English than Spanish; 3 = more Spanish than English; 4 = Spanish

Pretest: Word Lists
icipant# 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 5
word 1i

boda

caliente

calle

camino




delefes

esposo

gato

hablaf

hermana

informed

manana

marido

mesa

mocoso

muerte





















Free speech transcripts, with vowels for rating underlined:

DISC 1
Participant 1
:40 Cuando tengo tiempo ligre -- tiempo libre, uh me gusta ir al cine


:55 mi pelicula me gusta much es Braveheart


1:23 cuando aburrido me gusta levanta pes -- pesas


2:20 en el casa de sorority


2:31 este fin de semana


3:09 no entiendo donde yo


4:04 cinco afios de ahora
Participant 10
:44 En mi pasatiempo me gusto ir al cine con mis amigos


1:04 dormir en mi casa


1:14 en el fin de semana


1:41 Tambien me gusto or me gusta


pariente

persona

sefe











1:54 deportes como basquetbol


2:27 me much gusto


3:05 el ultimo cosa


3:34 en el future ...mi vida es


4:07 en una casa grande, muy grande


4:27 pero hace muchas dolores


Participant 12
:43 No tengo much tiempo libre pero cuando ...tengo tiempo libre me gusta ir a la playa
much


:54 Tambien me gusta ir a la cina ir a la cine


1:07 En el fin de semana


1:58 mi novela favorite es Harry Potter


2:05 El or la pelicula nuevo para Harry Potter


3:26 Me gustaria un casa un poco grande


Participant 18
:46 En me tiempo libre me gusta jugar al basquetbol


1:09 Me divierto cuando ah











1:17 Me no trabajo en la fin de semana porque necesito estudiar


1:39 me gusta ir a la playa para el fin de semana.


2:09 yo studio para espahol dos


2:15 Mi clase es no ficil


2:43 y digoles sobre mi vida


Participant 19
a. :37 En mi tiempo libre me gusta trabajar en mi auto... Es una pasatiempo de mio por
much aios...


Yo tengo un Toyota MR2 y es mi auto favorite ahora...Necesite much dinero para
trabajar en mi auto


1:32 Otras cosas me gusta hacer en mi tiempo libre


1:43 me gusta ir a una clase de salsa para bailar


2:09 voy a los discotecas por la noche


2:36 Por los fin de semanas me gusta ir a la playa


Participant 20
a. :52 En mi pasatiempo en fines de semana um... mi..


1: 11 hacer siesta much mm y yo studio









1:39 no tra traba tra... mm...


b. 2:01 cinco afios um yo trabaja mm en Atlanta


2:25 vi viro en casa


2:50 no visit mi familiar


Participant 3
a. :42 Me gusta tiempo libre


:52 Trabajo en Publix pero no me gusta


1:11 Fin de semana leo


1:36 A veces at--atendo discoteca.


b. 2:08 esposo esposa


2:42 en muy grande casa
4:47 es muy caliente
Participant 5
a. :47 me gusta tocar mi guitarra much


:56 tengo un trabajo


1:09 porque hago much dinero


1:59 en la fin de semana


b. 2:28 en un casa muy grande con los Playboy Bunnies











2:47 no tengo una esposa


3:45 en mi piscina que es muy grande


Participant 6
a. :37 En mi pasatiempo yo trabajo en TGI Friday's


:58 es la fin de semana, es muy divertida y me gusta bailar en los clubs...No tengo mas
tiempo libro libre pero


1:28 nadar en la piscina


1:46 voy a ir a la playa


b. 2:25 una casa y no es necesario pero um pero no es un problema


2:39 que tengo un esposo


3:19 un oficina grande


Participant 9
a. :41 me gusta ir a la playa, me gusta


:58 me gusta vayamos con mis amigas


1:15 trabajo ah por la mujer


1:51 me gusta leo uh en el fin de semana duermo much y asisto


b. 3:09 en la casa grande con la piscina















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Laurel Hodges, of Thomasville, Alabama, completed her Bachelor of Arts degree

in Spanish at The University of Alabama in 2003, having spent a semester abroad at the

Universidad de Alcala de Henares in Alcala de Henares, Spain, in 2001. She then went on

to complete her Master of Arts degree in Spanish at the University of Florida in 2006, in

Hispanic Linguistics, with a focus on second-language phonology.