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Volume 10 Number 3, Autumn 2013, Pages 1-131   

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Effects of Tasks and Awareness on Oral Imitation Accuracy by Japanese EFL Learners

    Etsuko Ofuka and Joan E. Gilbert

This study, which is based on a 12-week classroom experiment, investigates the effects of intervention tasks designed for focused listening and awareness raising on the accuracy of Japanese EFL learners' spoken outputs. The study used the pretest/posttest design with two experimental groups (N = 26 each) and two control groups (N = 36 in total). All participants watched short movie clips of 1 to 2 minutes. The participants of the experimental groups did intervention tasks consisting of dictation and oral repetition. One of the experimental groups was given tasks with the following awareness-raising interventions: cloze-dictation tasks with input enhancement and verbal instructions for English prosody. In order to measure the effects of these tasks, we used the learners' elicited imitation accuracy, prosodic accuracy, and self-reported increased awareness of prosody and unstressed words. The findings reveal that only the participants in the experimental group that did awareness-raising intervention tasks demonstrated significant improvement in spoken outputs; the other experimental group participants, who did dictation and oral repetition tasks, did not show much improvement compared to the control groups' participants. The educational implications of this study indicate that educators could help language learners improve their spoken outputs through awareness-raising interventions.

Keywords: elicited imitation, awareness, dictation, prosodic instruction, spoken