One of the major questions in second language (L2) phonological learning is whether perception precedes (and therefore guides) production. This question is important for knowing what types of training most benefit L2 learners. While most theories assume that perception always precedes production (e.g., Best, 1995; Flege, 1995), several recent studies have found that production may precede perception (e.g., Baker & Trofimovich, 2006; Beach, Brunham, & Kitamura, 2001; Goto, 1971; Sheldon & Strange, 1982; Underbakke, 1993), demonstrating that this complex relationship may differ depending on how and when the L2 is learned. The current study seeks to further explore this relationship by examining how perception and production influence each other on the suprasegmental (i.e., primary word stress) level. While many studies have examined whether perceptual training can influence production accuracy of suprasegmentals, little to no research has examined whether the opposite is true. Thus the goal of this study was to examine whether ESL learners who were trained in suprasegmental pronunciation accuracy improved in listening and speaking more than similar students who were trained in perception accuracy. Comparisons of pre- and post-tests suggest that focusing on accurate production improves not only production accuracy, but also listening comprehension more than does training in listening comprehension. These results enlighten our understanding of how perception and production influence each other, and may underscore the importance of providing bottom-up pronunciation skills for improving L2 phonological learning.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





perception, production, listening, pronunciation, ESL, EFL, word stress, suprasegmental

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Linguistics Commons