This is a preliminary report of a study pertaining to the effectiveness of specific training in pronunciation and intonation for students studying Japanese as a foreign language at university. The study involved weekly sessions across a 1 month period for volunteer participants interested in improving their pronunciation. Each session was conducted workshop-style in a small group headed by a native speaking instructor. Two groups of students were involved. Only one group was provided with a supplementary ‘pronunciation-check’ computer program. The study focused on those specific aspects of Japanese pronunciation and intonation considered especially problematic for native English and Chinese speakers. Surveys were conducted to explore the participants’ self-evaluation of their improvement in pronunciation and intonation, and their perception and awareness of Japanese pronunciation and intonation in general. In addition, supplementary data was collected from recordings of all participants, both at the beginning and conclusion of the workshop program, in order to assess their degree of improvement in pronunciation and intonation. This paper discusses the data collected from this preliminary study and provides suggestions for potential usefulness of similar exercises in Japanese language classroom instruction.
|Keywords:||Japanese Pronunciation and Intonation, Japanese as a Foreign Language, Tertiary Language Education, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Pronunciation Check Program|
Associate Lecturer, Department of International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia
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