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The role of aptitude in second language segmental learning:The case of Japanese learners’ English /ɹ/ pronunciation attainment in classroom settings

Saito, K; (2019) The role of aptitude in second language segmental learning:The case of Japanese learners’ English /ɹ/ pronunciation attainment in classroom settings. Applied Psycholinguistics , 40 (1) pp. 183-204. 10.1017/S0142716418000528. Green open access

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Abstract

Building on the extensive work conceptualizing, developing, and validating foreign language aptitude for successful second language acquisition (e.g., Skehan, 2015, in Applied Linguistics), the current project expounded the cognitive abilities relevant and instrumental to adult Japanese classroom learners’ pronunciation attainment of English /ɹ/. The speech production of 50 Japanese participants was elicited, acoustically analyzed, and linked to different aspects of their aptitude profiles (phonemic coding, associative memory, and sequence recognition). Whereas those with higher phonemic coding demonstrated better performance in a relatively easy dimension of English /ɹ/ pronunciation (lower F2 for tongue retraction), those with greater associative memory demonstrated more advanced performance in the relatively difficult dimensions of English /ɹ/ pronunciation (longer transition duration for phonemic length; lower F3 for labial/alveolar/pharyngeal constrictions). The role of incidental learning aptitude (i.e., sequence recognition) remained unclear. The findings here indicate that explicit aptitude related to phonological analysis and memory may play a key role in predicting the incidence of advanced second language segmental proficiency attainment in classroom settings.

Type: Article
Title: The role of aptitude in second language segmental learning:The case of Japanese learners’ English /ɹ/ pronunciation attainment in classroom settings
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0142716418000528
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716418000528
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.
Keywords: Aptitude, foreign language learning, second language speech, pronunciation, English /ɹ/
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/10066317
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