The acquisition of second language pronunciation: The case of Ecuadorian learners of English

Responsible: Alejandra pesantez
Duration of the project: January. 2019 - January. 2021

Project Description:

The main goal of a student who learns English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) is to acquire good pronunciation to avoid misunderstanding in communication after a considerable exposure to the language. Most of the action research on segmental vowel acquisition have focused on naturalistic setting environments. However, longitudinal studies are very limited. Moreover, most of these studies have been carried out on perception involving small sample size but not production. Few studies have examined the effect of different amounts of L2 exposure in a classroom environment where adults learning a foreign language can take advantage of the explicit language learning and their greater cognitive maturity to perceive and produce the L2 English sounds. More important, the majority of the population in the research of EFL have been students who had a few hours of English classes per week as part of the requirements to fulfill the semester enrollment at the university. Our interests is to examine how exposure in terms of quantity operationalized as number of English classes taken  and quality related to linguistic classes have an effect on accuracy, duration, intelligibility, comprehensibility on the English vowels /i/-/ ɪ /; /u/-/ ʊ /; /ɛ/-/æ/; /ʌ/ -/ɑ/  produced by Ecuadorian Spanish speakers. The results of this study will guide teachers, learners and researchers to understand how  a foreign language is acquired and which L2 pronunciation features deserve more attention to improve intelligibility and comprehensibility. Also, EFL educators will have a solid understanding of what is actually achievable in terms of vowel accuracy through English linguistics classes and  how to determine the optimum method to assist learners identify and establish realistic pronunciation goals. 

Publications (or conference presentation)

Pesantez, Alejandra; Pellegrino, Elisa; Dellwo, Volker (2019) Learning English as a foreign language:  The effect of the amount of exposure to English on the production of vowels by university learners from different levels. The 6th International Conference on English Pronunciation: Issues & Practices (EPIP). Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia, May 17–18, 2019.

Keywords: Second language (L2), English as a foreign language (EFL), vowels pronunciation, Spanish speakers.