The purpose of this study was to determine whether language aptitude and the use of language strategies predict pronunciation gains in second language (L2) acquisition. A second goal was to determine whether these factors differed depending on whether learning occurred in an English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) learning context. Eighty-six ESL students in the United States and one hundred EFL students in China were asked to take the Pimsleur language aptitude test. The top 15 or 16 and lowest 15 or 16 scorers on this test from each group were asked to complete a test of pronunciation proficiency and a pronunciation strategies inventory at the beginning and end of a 10-week speaking class in which they were enrolled. The pre and post pronunciation tests were rated and pronunciation proficiency gains in global foreign accent, fluency, comprehensibility and accuracy were compared to both Pimsleur test scores and use of pronunciation strategies before and after training. Results indicated that general language aptitude did not predict pronunciation gains regardless of type of setting (ESL or EFL), but that auditory aptitude may be linked to pronunciation proficiency. Analyses revealed that specific pronunciation strategies were strong predictors of pronunciation gain for comprehensibility and accuracy gains. The findings for this study suggest that pronunciation strategies seem to play a bigger role in pronunciation improvement than language aptitude and are effective in both ESL and EFL settings.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





language aptitude, L2 strategies, pronunciation, proficiency, context, ESL, EFL

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