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Volume 18 Number 4, Winter 2021, Pages 1071-1525   


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Helping Korean Adult L2 Learners Improve Their Intelligibility with Explicit Pronunciation Instruction

    Jung Hoon Kim & Isaiah WonHo Yoo


To ascertain whether pronunciation instruction can help adult Korean learners of English improve their intelligibility, this study conducted a quasi-experimental study by teaching ten pronunciation rules in Yoo (2011) to two groups of students taking a conversation class in a two-year college in Seoul. The results of the study revealed that the progress made by participants was statistically significant, albeit the increase in intelligibility was relatively small. Of the ten rules, the reduction of unstressed vowels to schwa was perceived to be most helpful for both speaking and listening, while the least helpful was the deletion of /h/ and /v/ in have in sentences such as I should have done that. The flapping rule was perceived to be most helpful for speaking, followed by the pronunciation of /tr/ and /dr/ in words such as truck and dry and the deletion of /n/ after /t/ in words such as international. As for pronunciation instruction in general, participants seem to possess a conflicting attitude for improving their pronunciation. On the one hand, they are eager to improve their pronunciation, even to the degree of native-like pronunciation; on the other hand, they recognize that improving pronunciation may be difficult because of their age.

Keywords: explicit pronunciation instruction, Korean adult learners, intelligibility, segmentals, suprasegmentals