Predicting near-native pronunciation in Spanish as a foreign language
Elliott, A. Raymond
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The objective of the present study is to examine the acquisition of pronunciation by 66 undergraduate students enrolled in three sections of an intermediate Spanish course. The data were collected during the Fall semester of the 91-92 academic year at Indiana University, Bloomington. Thirty-two males and thirty-four females served as the subjects. Using a control and two experimental groups, three separate regression analyses examined: 1) variables related to the subjects’ accuracy of pronunciation, 2) the effect of formal instruction in pronunciation, and 3) the relationship between “production” or pronunciation and the subjects’ knowledge of formal pronunciation rules, termed “metalinguistic awareness.” The results reveal that biological variables such as field independence and right cerebral dominance predicted accuracy of pronunciation on the pre-test. However, of the variables considered, only formal instruction successfully predicted improvement in pronunciation. Further, the ability to describe the articulation of the target language allophones related significantly to the pronunciation of these sounds on the posttest, suggesting that metalinguistic awareness is related to better production.