Studies have looked at various factors that affect pronunciation including phonetic context (e.g., Canfield 1940), style variation (e.g., Diaz-Campos 2006, Gonzales-Bueno 1995, Major 2004, Shively 2008, Zampini 1994), L1 transfer (e.g., Major 2001), and experience abroad (e.g., Diaz-Campos 2004, 2006, Lafford 2006, Stevens 2001). Motivation has been shown to affect language learning in general (Gardner 1985) but its role in pronunciation has yet to be explored. The relationship between cultural sensitivity and the acquisition of pronunciation has also been relatively understudied. The current study further explores the relationship between these variables and pronunciation. Many studies have shown that students' pronunciation improves as they progress through levels of instruction (e.g. Face 2006, Rose 2010). Including this as a variable will provide an idea of the relative strength of the relationships of the other variables (i.e., motivation and cultural sensitivity) and pronunciation. The current study includes 102 adult learners of Spanish as a foreign language from 4 levels of instruction (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd years and graduating majors). Students from the 3rd year were divided into two groups, those with extensive experience abroad and those without. The participants participated in a brief oral interview similar to ACTFL's Oral Proficiency Interview and completed a background questionnaire, the Survey of Motivational Intensity (Gardner 1985), and the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as a measure of cultural sensitivity. Pronunciation scores were determined by a panel of seven native Spanish speakers who rated one-minute segments of the learners' speech on a 100-point scale (e.g., Munro and Derwing, 1995; Derwing and Munro, 1997; Derwing, Munro, and Rossiter, 2004). Multiple regression analyses examine the relationships that cultural sensitivity, motivation, level of instruction, and experience abroad have with pronunciation.



College and Department

Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese



Date Submitted


Document Type





Cultural Sensitivity, Motivation, Second Language Acquisition, Pronunciation, Phonology