The Effect of Computer-Based Pronunciation Readings on ESL Learners’ Perception and Production of Prosodic Features in a Short-Term ESP Course

Recent studies on pronunciation teaching in ESL classrooms have found that the teaching of suprasegmentals, namely stress, pausing, and intonation, has a great effect on improving intelligibility (Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1998; Kang, Rubin, & Pickering, 2010; Morley, 1991). The current project describes the development and implementation of computer-based pronunciation materials used for an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) program. The pronunciation program made use of cued pronunciation readings (CPRs) which used suprasegmentals and were developed for English as a second language (ESL) missionaries at the Provo, Utah, Missionary Training Center (MTC). Because there was no pronunciation program in place at the MTC, instructional materials that focused on prosodic features were greatly needed. Missionaries participated in the program anywhere from three to six weeks. Results from the implementation period revealed that missionaries made medium to large gains in their ability to perceive suprasegmentals after using the practice tasks and small-medium gains in their ability to produce suprasegmentals during this short time period. Recommendations for further development, implementation, and testing of similar materials are made for use with individuals in other ESP settings like these missionaries at the MTC.

Thesis Author: Jolley, Caitlin

Year Completed: 2014

Committee Members: Lynn Henrichsen, Wendy Baker-Smemoe

Thesis Chair: Mark Tanner

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