General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 15:30 to 16:00 Symposium
The role of beat gesture perception and production in L2 pronunciation training
Speaker: Olga Kushch, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Speaker: Pilar Prieto, ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Authors: Kushch, O., Gluhareva, D., Prieto, P.


Research has shown that beat gestures (rhythmic hand/arm movements that are typically associated with prominent prosodic positions in speech) aid in word memorization (So et al., 2012, Igualada et. al, 2015) and discourse comprehension (Krahmer and Swerts, 2007, Biau and Soto-Faraco, 2013). However, little is known about the potential beneficial effects of beat gestures in second language pronunciation learning. The studies presented here explore the effect of beat gesture observation and production on pronunciation improvement in a language with different rhythmic properties than one’s own. The first study investigated the impact of beat gesture observation on the acquisition of native-like L2 speech patterns. Twenty Catalan speakers watched a training video in which an instructor gave spontaneous responses to English discourse prompts (separated into easy and difficult), either with or without accompanying beat gestures. The results of the comparison between participants’ pre-training and post-training speech samples demonstrated that beat gesture training significantly improved their accentedness ratings on the more discourse-demanding items. This supports the role of beat gestures as highlighters of rhythmic information and has implications for pronunciation instruction practices. The second study aims to extend the findings of the first experiment to gesture production. It has been shown that in the case of iconic gestures, producing them facilitates learning mental tasks more than simply observing them (Goldin-Meadow et al., 2012). This study will investigate whether participants show higher gains in accent improvement if they are instructed to imitate the experimenter and produce beat gestures themselves, rather than only observe them. This study will be conducted using very similar training materials, with a new set of participants, who will be asked to repeat the instructor-produced gestures on half of the training items. Their improvement on these items will be compared to improvement on items for which they only observed the gestures.
Symposium: Challenges in L2 pronunciation teaching and learning: experimental studies
Place: Room A-14

Other activities in Symposium: Challenges in L2 pronunciation teaching and learning: experimental studies
14:30 h. to 15:00 h.Symposium

Methodological issues in perceptual training: Empirical results and implications for L2 pronunciation learning

Speaker: Angélica Carlet, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
16:00 h. to 16:30 h.Symposium

Vowel Learning: Perceptual versus Articulatory training

Speaker: Cristina Aliaga García, Universitat de Barcelona
15:00 h. to 15:30 h.Symposium

Foreign accent imitation as L2 articulatory training

Speaker: Charlotte Everitt, Universitat de Barcelona