Effects of different teaching methods on the production of Mandarin tone 3 by English speaking learners
This study compared the effectiveness of two teaching methods on the production of Mandarin Tone 3 by English-speaking students. The control group (n=12) received pitch direction-focused instruction in which Tone 3 was introduced as a falling-rising contour tone while the experimental group (n=12) received pitch height-focused instruction in which Tone 3 was introduced as a low level tone. The ability to produce this tone in monosyllabic words, disyllabic words and sentences was assessed after 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months of instruction. The results showed that the pitch height-focused teaching method improved Tone 3 production in connected tonal environments at the sentence level, whereas the pitch direction-focused teaching method was more effective in training students to produce this tone in isolation. More importantly, unlike the pitch direction-focused method, the effectiveness of the pitch height-focused teaching method generalized to new words. It helped L2 learners to develop a self-learning skill for pronouncing unfamiliar words.
Published online: 02 February 2017
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