The ability for English Language Learners (ELL) to communicate in a native-like manner can be vital when seeking to improve job opportunities and social interactions. Native Japanese ELL speakers commonly struggle with identifying and producing the English consonants /r/ and /l/ as separate phonemes, even for experienced Japanese ELLs. Traditional means of second language (L2) learning has primarily used auditory feedback. Electropalatography (EPG) is a visual biofeedback system designed to visualize lingua-palatal contact in real time. This study explores the impact of using EPG technology in L2 Speech Learning with Japanese ELLs. Research has shown that EPG technology is an effective method of treating speech sound disorders in children, however there is sparse research available concerning the impact of EPG use in L2 learning for ELLs. This study analyzed four native Japanese speakers' ability to produce the /r/-/l/ contrast before and after L2 learning treatment utilizing EPG technology. Target stimuli containing the /r/ and /l/ phonemes were produced by each participant in three different tasks: nonsense words, words, and spontaneous speech. The /r/ and /l/ phonemes were produced in word-initial and word-final position. The EPG technology and computer software were used to record lingua-palatal contact patterns in order to collect data on each participants' productions of the /r/-/l/ phonemic contrast. In general, all four participants demonstrated increased center of gravity (COG) difference of /r/ and /l/ in 50%-100% of testing conditions from baseline to post treatment and in 33%-100% of testing conditions from post treatment to follow-up. In combination with future research, results from this study will help deepen the knowledge of L2 learning in ELLs specifically related to EPG technology use in treatment.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





electropalatography, Japanese, second-language acquisition, second-language speech learning, liquid contrast



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Education Commons