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Teaching connected speech rules to Japanese speakers of English so as to avoid a staccato speech rhythm

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Teaching connected speech rules to Japanese speakers of English so as to avoid a staccato speech rhythm

Melenca, Marie A (2001) Teaching connected speech rules to Japanese speakers of English so as to avoid a staccato speech rhythm. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study explores the effectiveness of teaching Japanese speakers of English how to connect speech so as to avoid a robotic speech rhythm. A control and an experimental group were each given three one-hour classes in English. The control group read poetry aloud without any explicit instructions. The experimental group were instructed in how to link words with three different sound boundaries: (1) consonant to vowel, (2) vowel to vowel, and, (3) consonant to consonant. The ability to link word pairs was rated for both the control and experimental groups in pre- and post-treatment situations, and this was compared to a native-speaker baseline of connected word pairs. This research focussed on whether instruction in connected speech rules would assist in reducing the syncopated rhythm which often characterises the speech of Japanese speakers of English. Although this study was an exploratory one, with a very small sample size, the results were heartening: directly teaching these rules seemed to heighten the awareness of the need to link word pairs. However, the results indicate several problem areas on which researchers and teachers need to focus in order to optimise time spent in pronunciation training. That is, a longer period of instruction with practice may enable a more successful output. Furthermore, it would be necessary to control experimental variables more carefully and use a larger sample size in order to obtain more definitive support for the claim that teaching connected speech rules would, indeed, generally improve the speech rhythm of Japanese learners of English.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > TESL Centre
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Melenca, Marie A
Pagination:x, 150 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:TESL Centre
Date:2001
Thesis Supervisor(s):Acheson, Palmer
ID Code:1389
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:19
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:20
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