Volume 56, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2451-828x
  • E-ISSN: 2451-8298
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The primary function of Mandarin tone is to encode and differentiate otherwise similar-sounding words. In that regard, proficient tone use is essential for both intelligible L2 pronunciation and successful vocabulary learning. Recent research investigating L2 tone use in online Mandarin word recognition revealed persistent difficulties among proficient learners. This paper reviews these findings in light of several tone teaching issues and challenges and proposes a few potential improvements to the current tone word pedagogy. It is suggested that tone instruction can be more effective if it is form-focused, systematically given in conjunction with vocabulary teaching, and backward-designed based on articulated tone word learning objectives and matching assessments. While highlighting the potentials of computer-mediated tone instruction and self-directed learning, the paper also identified a few directions for future research.


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