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Engaging the Senses: A Sensory-Based Approach to L2 Pronunciation


Engaging the Senses: A Sensory-Based Approach to L2 Pronunciation

Cerreta, Suzanne (2016) Engaging the Senses: A Sensory-Based Approach to L2 Pronunciation. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This case study examined the possible benefits of a sensory-based learning approach for
teaching L2 pronunciation to actors, and attempted to address the unique learning goal of nativelike speech, or North American commercial standard speech for acting purposes. In line with Gibson’s (1969) definition of sensory learning, or linking new concepts to previous knowledge through sensory engagement, curriculum materials were designed and adapted from Celce-Murcia, Briton, and Goodwin (2010) and the theatrical voice methods from Knight (2012). Focusing on two French Canadian actors (Marianne & Sebastian) over a 10-week instructional period, samples from monologue and scene performances before and after instruction were rated for six global and linguistic measures of speech (e.g., accent, comprehensibility, vowel and consonant errors) by 10 linguistically trained listeners, and for two performance measures by 10 advanced acting students. Linguistics listener ratings revealed a significant improvement in accent for Marianne and greater comprehensibility for both actors after instruction. However, qualitative data from weekly surveys and exit interviews showed a divergence in learning preferences. Marianne prioritized sensory-based activities, whereas Sebastian preferred more traditional language-focused instruction. These results suggest that theatrical methods of learning, such as sensory-based activities, can be beneficial for some L2 learners for overall improvement in accent and comprehensibility. This study highlights the importance of sensory-based activities as a supplement to form-focused pronunciation instruction and calls for theatrical voice curricula to promote practicing language in similar contexts to its intended use.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Cerreta, Suzanne
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Applied Linguistics
Date:1 August 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Trofimovich, Pavel
ID Code:981833
Deposited On:26 Oct 2016 13:26
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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