Teaching Pronunciation Using Sound Visualization Technology to EFL Learners

  • Min, Su-Jung (Kongju National University) ;
  • Pak, Hubert H. (Kongju National University)
  • Received : 20070400
  • Accepted : 20070600
  • Published : 2007.06.30

Abstract

When English language teachers are deciding on their priorities for teaching pronunciation, it is imperative to know what kind of differences and errors are most likely to interfere with communication, and what special problems particular first-language speakers will have with English pronunciation. In other words, phoneme discrimination skill is an integral part of speech processing for the EFL learners' learning to converse in English. Training using sound visualization technique can be effective in improving second language learners' perceptions and productions of segmental and suprasegmental speech contrasts. This study assessed the efficacy of a pronunciation training that provided visual feedback for EFL learners acquiring pitch and durational contrasts to produce and perceive English phonemic distinctions. The subjects' ability to produce and to perceive novel English words was tested in two contexts before and after training; words in isolation and words in sentences. In comparison with an untrained control group, trainees showed improved perceptual and productive performance, transferred their knowledge to new contexts, and maintained their improvement three months after training. These findings support the feasibility of learner-centered programs using sound visualization technique for English language pronunciation instruction.