Chapter 7. The role of onset level on L2 perceptual phonological development after formal instruction and study abroad

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The present study addresses, focusing on perceptual phonological competence, one of the main research questions within the SALA Project: namely, whether there are differential gains attributable to Formal Instruction (FI) and Study Abroad (SA) contexts, and whether there are different patterns of development associated with learners’ pre-SA onset level. The data analysed comprises a three-year language learning period. The results revealed significant gains in discrimination ability during the FI period and lack of gains during SA, with no significant loss or gain occurring at delayed post-test. Large inter-subject differences indicated that the amount of gains obtained during FI varied as a function of learners’ initial level, the lower learner group obtaining the largest gains in discrimination scores.


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