Prosody- vs. segment-based teaching
Impact on the perceptual skills of French learners of English
English, an international language, is widely taught and learnt as a foreign language in France. However, French learners face pronunciation difficulties, as the two languages differ both on the segmental level (i.e. individual sounds) and on the suprasegmental, prosodic level (i.e. stress, rhythm, intonation). It has been argued that focus on the prosodic features of the target language (L2) would improve learners’ oral skills. Nevertheless, very few studies have brought evidence of the greater role of prosody in the acquisition of a second or foreign language. The current study seeks to address this gap by directly comparing prosody-centred and segment-centred teaching to determine whether one approach is more effective than the other in the improvement of L2 oral perception skills. The study shows that both teaching approaches enabled French EFL learners to improve their perception skills; however, neither method proved to have a stronger impact, suggesting that both segmental and suprasegmental aspects should both be addressed in L2 teaching.
Keywords: English as a foreign language (EFL), French learners, segments, prosody, L2 perception.
Published online: 21 February 2017
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