The acoustics of English vowels in the speech of Dutch learners before and after pronunciation training

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Amongst all second-language skills, pronunciation seems to be in a league of itsown. It is difficult to teach and acquire as it is a highly intuitive and physiologicalskill. This research describes the successes of pronunciation training, specificallyrelated to Dutch learners of English. Acoustic measurements were done onselected vowels. The F1 and F2 values – showing degree of vowel openness andfront/back-ness, respectively – before and after training showed that an individuallearner’s progress in the production of one vowel does not necessarilyimply equal success in another. Types of learners could be distinguished; whilemost learners improved, others stagnated or regressed. The results suggest thatDutch learners should focus more on vowel openness than on front/back-ness.


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