Improving L2 pronunciation inside and outside the classroom

Angélica Carlet, Hanna Kivistö-de Souza


Spanish/Catalan learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) attended a formal instruction (FI) period combined with explicit pronunciation instruction, which consisted of theoretical and practical approaches to English segmental phonetics as well as a contrastive analysis between the participants’ first languages and the target language, English. The EFL learners’ ability to perceive and produce L2 vowels was assessed before and after the 8-week instructional treatment. Results show that the EFL learners significantly improved their perception of vowel sounds embedded in real and non-words. However, no improvement in production was found as a result of the instruction received. While these results suggest that learners’ perceptual skills can be improved with teacher-led instruction, the quantity and availability of explicit pronunciation instruction is not sufficient to modify learners’ speech production. Thus, optimal results require learners to continue learning outside the classroom context. With this aim, this paper presents two autonomous activities developed to increase learners’ awareness about phonology: L1-L2 Pronunciation Comparison Task and a Phonological Self-awareness Questionnaire.


L2 pronunciation; Formal instruction; Autonomous learning

Full Text:



Aliaga-García, C., & Mora, J. C. (2009). Assessing the efects of phonetic training

on L2 sound perception and production. Recent research in second language

phonetics/phonology: Perception and production, 2-31.

Alves, U. K., & Magro, V. (2011). Raising awareness of L2 phonology: Explicit

instruction and the acquisition of aspirated /p/ by Brazilian Portuguese speakers.

Letras de Hoje, 46, 71-80.

Alves, U. K., & Luchini, P. L. (2016). Percepción de la distinción entre oclusivas

sordas y sonoras iniciales del inglés (LE) por estudiantes argentinos: Datos de

identiicación y discriminación. Lingüística, 32(1), 25-39. doi:10.5935/2079-


Baker, W., & Troimovich, P. (2006). Perceptual paths to accurate production of

L2 vowels: he role of individual diferences. International review of Applied

Linguistics in Language Teaching, 44, 231-250.

Bradlow, A. R. (2008). 10. Training non-native language sound patterns: Lessons from

training Japanese adults on the English /r/ - /l/ contrast. Studies in Bilingualism

Phonology and Second Language Acquisition, 287-308. doi:10.1075/sibil.36.14bra

Calvo- Benzies, Y. J. (2014). he teaching of pronunciation in Spain: students’ and

teachers’ views. In T. Pattison (Ed.), IATEFL 2013 Liverpool Conference Selections

(pp. 106-108). Faversham, UK: IATEFL.

Carlet, A. (2017). L2 perception and production of English consonants and vowels

by Catalan speakers: he efects of attention and training task in a cross-training

study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,

Barcelona, Spain.

Carlet, A., & Rato, A. (2015). Non-native perception of English voiceless stops. In E.

Babatsouli & D. Ingram (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on

Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 2015 (pp. 57-67). Chania, Greece: Institute of

Monolingual and Bilingual Speech.

Cebrian, J. (2006). Experience and the use of non-native duration in L2

vowel categorization. Journal of Phonetics, 34(3), 372-387. doi:10.1016/j.


Cebrian, J., & Carlet, A. (2014). Second-language learners’ identiication of targetlanguage

phonemes: A short-term phonetic training study. Canadian Modern

Language Review, 70(4), 474-499. doi:10.3138/cmlr.2318

Cebrian, J., Mora, J.C. & Aliaga-García C. (2011). Assessing crosslinguistic similarity

by means of rated discrimination and perceptual assimilation tasks. In Wrembel,

M., Kul, M., Dziubalska-Kołaczyk, K. (Eds.), Achievements and perspectives

in the acquisition of second language speech: New Sounds 2010 (pp. 41-52).

Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Cebrian, J. (2015). Reciprocal measures of perceived similarity. In the Scottish

Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress

of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, UK: Glasgow University.

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D., & Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching pronunciation.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cenoz, J., & García-Lecumberri, M. L. (1999). he acquisition of English

pronunciation: learners’ views. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(1),

-15. doi:10.1111/j.1473-4192.1999.tb00157.x

Couper, G. (2011). What makes pronunciation teaching work? Testing for the efect of

two variables: socially constructed metalanguage and critical listening. Language

Awareness, 20, 159-182.

Darcy, I., Ewert, D., & Lidster, R. (2012). Bringing pronunciation instruction back into

the classroom: An ESL teachers’ pronunciation “toolbox”. In J. Levis & K. Lavelle

(Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and

Teaching Conference, Sept. 2011 (pp. 93-108). Ames, IA: Iowa State University.

Derwing, T. M., & Munro, M. J. (2015). Pronunciation fundamentals: evidence-based

perspectives for L2 teaching and research (Vol. 42). Netherlands: John Benjamins

Publishing Company.

Ellis, N. C. (2005). At the interface: Dynamic interactions of explicit and implicit

language knowledge. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 305-352.

Flege, J. E. (1991). Age of learning afects the authenticity of voice‐onset time (VOT)

in stop consonants produced in a second language. he Journal of the Acoustical

Society of America, 89(1), 395-411. doi:10.1121/1.400473

Flege, J. E. (1995). Second language speech learning: heory, indings and problems.

In W. Strange (Ed.), Speech Perception and Linguistic Experience: Issues in Cross

Language Research (pp. 233-277). Timonium, MD: York Press.

Flege, J., Hammond, R. (1982). Mimicry of non-distinctive phonetic diferences

between language varieties. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 5, 1–17.

Fraser, H. (2000). Coordinating improvements in pronunciation teaching for adult

learners of English as a second language. Canberra: Department of Education,

Training and Youth Afairs.

Fullana, N., & MacKay, I. R. (2003). Production of English sounds by EFL learners:

he case of /i/ and /ɪ/. In Proceedings of the 15th international congress of

phonetic sciences, ICPhS (pp. 1525-1528). Barcelona, Spain: ICPhS organizing


Fullana, N., & Mora, J. C. (2009) Production and perception of voicing contrasts in

English word-inal obstruents: Assessing the efects of experience and starting

age. In M. A. Watkins, A. S. Rauber, & B. O. Baptista (Eds.), Recent Research

in Second Language Phonetics/Phonology: Perception and Production. (pp. 97-

. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

García-Lecumberri, M. L., & Gallardo, F. (2003). English FL sounds in school learners

of diferent ages. In M. P. García Mayo & M. L. García-Lecumberri (Eds.), Age

and the Acquisition of English as a Foreign Language (pp.115-135). Clevedon:

Multilingual Matters.

Gilbert, J. B. (2010). Why has pronunciation been an orphan? IATEFL Pronunciation

Special Interest Group Newsletter, 43, 3-7.

Gordon, J., & Darcy, I. (2016). he development of comprehensible speech in

L2 learners: A classroom study on the efects of short-term pronunciation

instruction. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, 2(1), 56-92. doi:10.1075/


Gordon, J., Darcy, I., & Ewert, D. (2013). Pronunciation teaching and learning:

Efects of explicit phonetic instruction in the L2 classroom. In Proceedings of the

th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference (pp.


Holec, H., 1981: Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon. (First

published 1979, Strasbourg: Council of Europe)

Jilka, M. (2009). Talent and proiciency in language. In G. Dogil & S. Reiterer (Eds.),

Language talent and brain activity (pp. 1-16). Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter. Kennedy,

S., & Blanchet, J. (2014). Language awareness and perception of connected speech

in second language. Language Awareness, 23, 92-106.

Kennedy, S., Blanchet, J., & Troimovich, P. (2014). Learner pronunciation, awareness,

and instruction in French as a second language. Foreign Language Annals, 47, 79-

Kennedy, S., & Troimovich, P. (2010). Language awareness and second language

pronunciation: a classroom study. Language Awareness, 19, 171-185.

Kissling, E. M. (2013). Teaching pronunciation: Is explicit phonetics instruction

beneicial for FL learners?. he modern language journal, 97(3), 720-744.

Kivistö-de Souza, H. (2015). Phonological awareness and pronunciation in a second

language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Barcelona, Barcelona,


Kivistö-de Souza, H. (2017). he relationship between phonotactic awareness and

pronunciation in adult second language learners. Revista Brasileira de Linguística

Aplicada, 17, 185-214. doi: 10.1590/1984-6398201610850

Larson-Hall, J. (2008). Weighing the beneits of studying a foreign language at a

younger starting age in a minimal input situation. Second Language Research,

(1), 35-63.

Logan, J., & Pruitt, J. (1995). Methodological issues in training listeners to perceive

non-native phonemes. In W. Strange (Ed.), Speech Perception and Linguistic

Experience: Issues in Cross Language Research (pp. 351-378). Timonium,

MD:York Press.

Long, M. H. (1991). Focus on form: A design feature in language teaching

methodology. In K. de Bot, R. Ginsberg, & C. Kramsch (Eds.), Foreign language

research in cross-cultural perspective (pp. 39-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Long, M. H., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (1991). An introduction to second language

acquisition research. Harlow: Longman.

Mora, J. C. (2005). Lexical knowledge efects on the discrimination of non-native

phonemic contrasts in words and non-words by Spanish/Catalan bilingual

learners of English. In ISCA Workshop on Plasticity in Speech Perception.

Mora, J.C., Rochdi, Y., & Kivistö-de Souza, H. (2014). Mimicking accented speech as

L2 phonological awareness. Language Awareness, 23, 57-75. doi:10.1080/096584


Moyer, A. (1999). Ultimate attainment in L2 phonology: he critical factors of age,

motivation and instruction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21, 81–108.

Monje-Sangüesa, V. (2016). he second time around: he efect of FI upon return

from SA. (Unpublished MA hesis). University Pompeu Fabra: Barcelona, Spain.

Munro, M., & Derwing, T. (2001). Modeling perceptions of the accentedness and

comprehensibility of L2 speech; he role of speaking rate. Studies in Second

Language Acquisition, 23, 451-468.

Muñoz, C. (2008). Symmetries and asymmetries of age efects in naturalistic and

instructed L2 learning. Applied Linguistics, 29(4), 578-596. doi:10.1093/applin/


Muñoz, C. (2011). Input and long-term efects of starting age in foreign language

learning. IRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language

Teaching, 49(2), 113-133. doi:10.1515/iral.2011.006.

Purcell, E. T., & Suter, R. W. (1980). Predictors of pronunciation accuracy: A

reexamination. Language learning, 30(2), 271-287.

Piske, T. (2008). Phonetic awareness, phonetic sensitivity and the second language

learner. In Encyclopedia of language and education (pp. 1912-1923). New York,

US: Springer Publishing.

Rallo-Fabra, L., & Romero, J. (2012). Native Catalan learners’ perception and

production of English vowels. Journal of Phonetics, 40(3), 491-508. doi:10.1016/j.


Ramírez Verdugo, D. (2006). A study of intonation awareness and learning in nonnative

speakers of English. Language Awareness, 15, 141-159.

Rato, A., & Rauber, A. (2015). he efects of perceptual training on the production

of English vowel contrasts by Portuguese learners. In the Scottish Consortium for

ICPhS 2015 (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic

Sciences. Glasgow, UK: Glasgow University.

Rauber, A., Rato, A., Kluge, D., & Santos, G. (2012). TP (Version 3.1).[Sotware].

Brazil: Worken. [].

Saito, K. (2012). Efects of instruction on L2 pronunciation development: A synthesis

of 15 quasi‐experimental intervention studies. TESOL Quarterly, 46(4), 842-854.

Saito, K. (2013). he acquisitional value of recasts in instructed second language

speech learning: Teaching the perception and production of English /ɹ/ to adult

Japanese learners. Language Learning, 63, 499-529.

Saito, K. (2015). Variables afecting the efects of recasts on L2 pronunciation

development. Language Teaching Research, 19(3), 276-300.


Saito, K., & Lyster, R. (2011). Efects of form-focused instruction and corrective

feedback on L2 pronunciation development of /ɹ/ by Japanese learners of English.

Language Learning, 62(2), 595-633. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011.00639.x

Setter, J., & Jenkins, J. (2005). State-of-the-art review article. Language Teaching, 38(1),


Scovel, T. (1988). A time to speak. A psycholinguistic inquiry into the critical period

for human speech. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House.

Schmidt, R. (1990). he role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied

Linguistics, 11, 129-158.

Schmidt, R. (1995). Consciousness and foreign language learning: a tutorial on the

role of attention and awareness in learning. In Schmidt, R. (Ed.), Attention and

awareness (pp. 1-63). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai`i, National Foreign

Language Resource Center.

Silveira, R., & Alves, U. (2009). Noticing e intrução explícita: Aprendizagem fonéticofonológica

do morfema-ed. Nonada Letras em Revista, 2(13), 149-159.

Solé, M. J., & Estebas, E. (2000). Phonetic and phonological phenomena: VOT: A

cross-language comparison. In Proceedings of the 18th AEDEAN Conference

(pp. 437-44). Vigo: University of Vigo.

homson, R. I., & Derwing, T. M. (2014). he efectiveness of L2 pronunciation

instruction: A narrative review. Applied Linguistics, 36(3), 326-344. doi:10.1093/


Vitevitch, M. S., & Luce, P. A. (1999). Probabilistic phonotactics and neighborhood

activation in spoken word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 40(3),


VanPatten, B. (1996). Input processing and grammar instruction in second language

acquisition. Norwood: Ablex Publishing

Venkatagiri, H. S., & Levis, J. (2007). Phonological awareness and speech

comprehensibility: An exploratory study. Language Awareness, 16, 263-277.

Vitevitch, M., & Luce, P. (1999). Probabilistic phonotactics and neighborhood

activation in spoken word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 40,


White, J., & Ranta, L. (2002). Examining the interface between metalinguistic task

performance and oral production in a second language. Language Awareness, 11,


Wrembel, M. (2005). Phonological Metacompetence in the Acquisition of Second

Language Phonetics (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Adam Mickiewicz

University, Poznan.

Wrembel, M. (2011). Metaphonetic awareness in the production of speech. In M.

Pawlak, E. Waniek-Klimczak & J. Majer (Eds.), Speaking and instructed foreign

language acquisition (pp. 169-182). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Wrembel, M. (2013). Metalinguistic awareness in third language phonological

acquisition. In K. Roehr & G. A. Gánem-Gutiérrez (Eds.), he metalinguistic

dimension in instructed second language learning (pp. 119-144). London:



Copyright (c) 2018

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.