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Shifting Sands in Second Language Pronunciation Teaching and Assessment Research and Practice

Isaacs, T; (2018) Shifting Sands in Second Language Pronunciation Teaching and Assessment Research and Practice. Language Assessment Quarterly , 15 (3) pp. 273-293. 10.1080/15434303.2018.1472264. Green open access

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Abstract

This article brings to the fore trends in second language (L2) pronunciation research, teaching, and assessment by highlighting the ways in which pronunciation instructional priorities and assessment targets have shifted over time, social dimensions that, although presented in a different guise, appear to have remained static, and principles in need of clearer conceptualization. The reorientation of the pedagogical goal in pronunciation teaching from the traditional focus on accent reduction to the more suitable goal of intelligibility will feed into a discussion of major constructs subsumed under the umbrella term of “pronunciation.” We discuss theoretical gaps, definitional quagmires, and challenges in operationalizing major constructs in assessment instruments, with an emphasis on research findings on which pronunciation features are most consequential for intelligibility and implications for instructional priorities and assessment targets. Considerations related to social judgments of pronunciation, accent familiarity effects, the growth of lingua franca communication, and technological advances, including machine scoring of pronunciation, pervade the discussion, bridging past and present. Recommendations for advancing an ambitious research agenda are proposed to disassociate pronunciation assessment from the neglect of the past, secure its presence as an integral part of the L2 speaking construct, and propel it to the forefront of developments in assessment.

Type: Article
Title: Shifting Sands in Second Language Pronunciation Teaching and Assessment Research and Practice
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/15434303.2018.1472264
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/15434303.2018.1472264
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047821
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