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Volume 2 Number 2, Summer 2005, Pages 1-151   


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The Role of Explicit Instruction in the Development of L2 Phonology

    Atsuko Kashiwagi, Michael Snyder & James Craig


This research was motivated by seeming skepticism on the part of teachers about the efficacy of explicit pronunciation instruction. A study was conducted to investigate whether explicit knowledge of the English phonetic system on the learners' part helps them in their phonological development. Sixty-six students at a women's university in Tokyo were chosen as the experimental group, while sixty students in another department at the same university were selected as the control group. The experimental group received extensive pronunciation instruction for a year, while the control group received no specific attention on pronunciation. At the end of the year, both groups were evaluated on their reading of a prepared passage and their explicit knowledge of the English phonetic system. The results show that the experimental group did better in their reading of the passage, as well as in the rest of the test, than the control group, despite the fact that the control group had a higher TOEIC average. Multiple regression analysis shows that learners' explicit knowledge is one of the strongest predictors of how well students do on the passage reading, suggesting the merits of explicit pronunciation instruction.