An L1 point of reference approach to pronunciation modification: Learner-centred alternatives to ‘listen and repeat’

  • Michael David Carey University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Arizio Sweeting University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Robert Mannell Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University
Keywords: learner-centred pronunciation instruction, L1POR

Abstract

This theoretical paper aims to encourage teacher creativity, flexibility, and a non-nativist approach to teaching pronunciation. It proposes a first language (L1) point of reference approach (L1POR) for the instruction of pronunciation (Carey, 2004). We argue that speech production needs to precede perception training within the sequence of instruction through motor-sensory awareness (Copeman, 2012; Messum, 2010; Underhill, 2005) and L1-specific approaches (Carey, 2004). We present key theories and models of speech perception and production to justify the departure from native English modelling, listening exercises and imitation, towards raising awareness of individual learner needs and aspirations. The approach initially develops the learner’s awareness of their L1 phonology as a scaffold towards developing an acceptable productive approximation of the target speech sounds. We emphasize the importance of learners becoming metalinguistic about their pronunciation needs, and the realisation that they are their own best teachers, when supported by teachers with knowledge of the student’s L1 phonology. Current constructivist, learner-centred methods of learning and teaching pronunciation are presented as examples of approaches that align with the L1POR and offer practical alternatives to ‘listen and repeat’ pronunciation teaching techniques. Pronunciation priorities are discussed in relation to the specific first language and idiosyncratic needs of students.

Author Biographies

Michael David Carey, University of the Sunshine Coast
Lecturer in Education (TESOL), School of Education.
Arizio Sweeting, University of the Sunshine Coast
PhD candidate
Robert Mannell, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University
Senior lecturer in Linguistics
Published
2015-03-06
How to Cite
Carey, M. D., Sweeting, A., & Mannell, R. (2015). An L1 point of reference approach to pronunciation modification: Learner-centred alternatives to ‘listen and repeat’. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 9(1), A18-A30. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/339