Tone and vocabulary learning for classroom-based L2 Mandarin learners
Pedagogical implications from current tone word processing research
The primary function of Mandarin tone is to encode and differentiate otherwise similar-sounding words. In that regard, proficient tone use is essential for both intelligible L2 pronunciation and successful vocabulary learning. Recent research investigating L2 tone use in online Mandarin word recognition revealed persistent difficulties among proficient learners. This paper reviews these findings in light of several tone teaching issues and challenges and proposes a few potential improvements to the current tone word pedagogy. It is suggested that tone instruction can be more effective if it is form-focused, systematically given in conjunction with vocabulary teaching, and backward-designed based on articulated tone word learning objectives and matching assessments. While highlighting the potentials of computer-mediated tone instruction and self-directed learning, the paper also identified a few directions for future research.
Keywords: L2 Mandarin tone pedagogy, Mandarin L2 tone word learning, L2 spoken, word recognition, classroom-based Mandarin tone acquisition
- 2.Research summary
- 2.1Processes and knowledge involved in tone word identification and production
- 2.2Key findings from the L2 tone word recognition research
- 3.Pedagogical implications
- 3.1L2 Tone word processing findings in light of current tone teaching practices
- 3.2Instructional considerations for more effective tone word learning
- 3.3Toward a more systematic tone pedagogy: Learning outcomes, assessments, and technology-enhanced self-directed learning
- 4.Conclusion and future research directions
Published online: 22 March 2022
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