Abstract

In recent years, increasing attention has been placed on providing pronunciation instruction that meets the communicative needs of nonnative speakers (NNSs) of English. Empirical research and pronunciation materials writers suggest that teaching suprasegmentals before segmentals to intermediate and advanced NNSs could be more beneficial in a shorter period of time. However, the majority of the materials available that emphasize suprasegmentals are textbook-based, relying principally on classroom settings and teacher feedback. The purpose of Pronunciation Progress: Stress in American English is to provide NNSs with pronunciation materials for self-access and student-directed learning environments. These materials are designed as a series of computerized modules that focus on one element of suprasegmentals – stress. Pronunciation Progress: Stress in American English is divided into three units: syllable unit, word unit, and sentence unit. Each unit consists of different sections that include explanations of the content, examples, and practice exercises with immediate feedback. Learners can listen to native speakers on the computer and navigate through the content at their own pace, focusing on specific areas that they deem important for their learning. A pilot study was conducted over a three week period to evaluate these materials. Students at Brigham Young University's English Language Center provided written and oral feedback detailing their reactions to the materials. Participants responded to surveys for each of the three units and participated in a focus group that gathered comments regarding the overall usefulness and design of the program. Overall reactions to the program were very positive. In general, participants responded favorably to each of the three units for statements regarding ease of use, level of enjoyment, clarity of directions, newness of knowledge, interest of practice exercises, understanding of examples, and desires to practice outside of the lab. Many of the students said that they enjoyed all of the units, and all but one who participated in the focus group commented that they liked the sentence unit the most. Student comments also implied that participants had a raised awareness of features of stress in American English.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2005-07-07

Document Type

Selected Project

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd903

Keywords

pronunciation, stress, English, ESL, second language learning, computer-assisted language learning, CALL, self-access, autonomy, self-directed language learning, suprasegmentals

Included in

Linguistics Commons

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