Can I Change the Way I Speak?
Romova Z, Smith J & Neville-Barton P 2008, ‘Can I change the way I speak? – An exploration into pronunciation and fluency after three years of tertiary EAL study’, Prospect. An Australian Journal of TESOL, vol. 23, № 3, pp. 12 – 23.
1. What is the problem that is addressed in the research?
The context of the study is teaching English as a foreign language to four adult immigrant learners who attended the Bachelor of Arts in English as an Additional Language programme in New Zealand. The study addresses two issues relating to second language acquisition, namely changes in speech.
Firstly, the study seeks to examine the changes in the speech of the four students. The aspects that are investigated are pronunciation and fluency, specifically the changes that could be heard in pronunciation and fluency of the four students. The study addresses the question of whether the students can speak better after three years of study. What is more, the issue of whether the students could acquire the features of local standard New Zealand English is discussed. In order to shed light on this issue, the study analyses the concept of “fluency” and issues in assessing pronunciation with the notion of “nativeness of pronunciation” and factors of intelligibility in the focus.
The second issue, which is explored in the study, relates to the correlation and comparison of the changes in the speech of the students with their own perceptions of these changes. The authors investigate to what extent the students’ self-assessment is accurate and how self-assessment and motivational factors contributed to the changes in their pronunciation and fluency.