Oita JALT:

Achievable Pronunciation Goals for Japanese Learners of English

Date: Sunday, February 7th, 2010 Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Speaker: Eoin Jordan

Eoin Jordan works as a short-term overseas language program coordinator and translator at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. His research interests include English pronunciation, L1 transfer in language learning, and vocabulary acquisition and assessment.

Despite the massive popularity of spoken 'English conversation' classes in Japan, clear guidelines regarding which form of English pronunciation students should aim to use productively seem to be rather thin on the ground. While the Japanese government promotes increased exposure to native speakers of English in the classroom as a measure to increase general spoken English ability, research suggests that the vast majority of learners will be unable to master such 'native' pronunciation for their own productive use.

This presentation reports on a study conducted in response to this perceived mismatch of pronunciation goals and learners' ability to fulfill them. By means of an online questionnaire, the presenter set out to measure the attitudes of a group of Japanese university students towards two native forms of English pronunciation and one form of Japanese English pronunciation, all taken from interviews with Hollywood movie stars. The results indicate that while students appeared to recognize the benefits of Japanese English pronunciation in terms of achievability and comprehensibility, they found it significantly less attractive than both of the native speaker models. The implications for the classroom are that some students have unrealistic targets for their own English pronunciation, and that if left unchecked this may have a strong demotivational effect. Finally some possible approaches to remedy this situation will be discussed.

Organization: Oita Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Oita JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 500 yen

Venue: Compal Hall, Oita City

Location: Oita City, Oita Prefecture, Japan


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