The Effectiveness of Focused Attention on Pronunciation and Intonation Training in Tertiary Japanese Language Education on Learners’ Confidence: Preliminary Report on Training Workshops and a Supplementary Computer Program

By Kayo Nakazawa.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp.181-192. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 803.925KB).

Kayo Nakazawa

Associate Lecturer, Department of International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia

My major research interests are second language acquisition, computer assisted language learning, Japanese as foreign language acquisition, autonomous learning, task based teaching and kanji acquisition. I have been involved as a co-authour development and implementation of Kantaro (CD-Rom for Kanji learning), Gengoro (CD-Rom for beginner level Japanese language), and WebCT content. I did investigation and study mainly in five areas; mechanism in second language learning, task study in second language learning, kanji acquisition in Japanese, use of technology to facilitate kanji learning, use of technology to improve distance education. In 2005 and 2006, I was involved in the project, “Whole Curriculum Approach to ICT Supported Teaching and Learning” trial conducted in Japanese Studies at Macquarie University.

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