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Background on Adult Learners Adult education programs serve both native English speakers and learners whose first, or native, language is not English. Native English speakers attend adult basic education ABE classes to learn basic skills needed to improve their literacy levels and adult secondary education ASE classes to Levis questionnaire high school equivalency certificates.
English language learners attend English as a second language ESLABE, or workforce preparation classes to improve their oral and literacy skills in English and to achieve goals similar to those of native English speakers.
Audience for This Brief This brief is written for teachers, program administrators, education researchers, and policy makers to provide information about evidence-based strategies for teaching pronunciation to adult English language learners.
Introduction Adult English language learners Levis questionnaire the United States approach the learning of English pronunciation from a wide variety of native language backgrounds and may speak languages with sound systems that vary a great deal from that of English.
Individuals with a Spanish language background constitute the largest foreign-born population in the United States. Because English language learners in adult education programs reflect the foreign-born population, they come from diverse language backgrounds.
Their pronunciation goals, needs, and levels of English proficiency are also diverse. Although a focus on pronunciation is part of the curriculum in many adult education programs, it is often not included in state language proficiency standards or addressed systematically in instruction Levis, This brief reviews features of languages particularly English that can have an impact on the teaching and learning of English pronunciation and the research on learner acquisition of pronunciation, and describes how teachers can implement teaching of pronunciation in their classes.
Features of Languages Recent discussion of and research on the teaching and learning of pronunciation has focused on contrasts between the sound systems of a language spoken and a language being learned; the importance of accent, stress, intonation, and rhythm in the comprehensibility of the speech of nonnative speakers; the effect of motivation and exposure in the development of native-like pronunciation; and intelligibility of speech among speakers of different English varieties.
Contrastive Analysis Linguists have tried to identify potential pronunciation difficulties of nonnative speakers of a language by using contrastive analysis, which was popular in the s and s.
The Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis posits that by contrasting the features of two languages, the difficulties that a language learner might encounter can be anticipated Crystal, ; Fries, Features of many languages were catalogued by linguists, but it was not possible to systematically predict which areas of English would be difficult for speakers of particular native languages.
A less predictive version of the hypothesis was eventually put forth that focused on cross-linguistic influence. Cross-linguistic influence claims that prior language experiences have an impact on the way a language is learned, but these experiences do not consistently have predictive value Brown, ; Wardhaugh, From this work, linguists have been able to develop lists of sounds that native speakers of particular languages may find problematic in learning English.
Many adult learners of English have a foreign accent that identifies them as nonnative speakers. Some linguists support the idea, known as the Critical Period Hypothesis, that a learner needs to begin learning the language before age 7 in order to develop native-like pronunciation Lenneberg, The primary aim is that students are understood.
Stress, Intonation, and Rhythm Munro and Derwing observed that even heavily accented speech is sometimes intelligible, and prosodic errors errors in stress, intonation, and rhythm appear to affect intelligibility more than do phonetic errors single sounds.
Regarding stress, languages have traditionally been classified as either stress timed or syllable timed.Depuis quand vivez-vous à cette adresse? Since when do you live at this address? *.
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