Not only is little attention given to pronunciation instruction in many beginning Spanish language courses, but the literature on the effects of pronunciation instruction on Spanish language learners also tends to focus on intermediate to advanced learners. Parts of the Spanish sound system can be difficult for learners, as evidenced in Zampini (1994), who showed that the Spanish allophones of /d/ are quite difficult for English speakers to acquire, and postulated that they may need explicit instruction to improve their acquisition. The current study investigates whether explicit instruction of the realizations of intervocalic Spanish /d/ will improve the production of this sound by first-year students of Spanish. The study consists of an experimental group that received five weeks of explicit pronunciation instruction and a control group that only received input from a native Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico. Overall, the experimental group showed improvement in their production of intervocalic Spanish /d/ while the control group did not. The results have implications for second language acquisition and current teaching approaches. Even though first year L2 Spanish learners may not be able to reproduce target pronunciation in spontaneous speech, with explicit instruction they have knowledge of how the sounds are supposed to be produced and are better able to practice and incorporate those sounds into their repertoires. Additionally, students who feel more confident in their pronunciation ability are more likely to participate in the L2 classroom (Harlow and Muysken 1994), leading to more practice in the L2.
Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Chad Howe, Sarah E. Blackwell, and Margaret Lubbers Quesada
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