Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1931
  • E-ISSN: 2215-194X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This article investigates learners’ perceptions on pronunciation learning in study-abroad contexts from a qualitative perspective. While previous research focused mainly on quantitative measurements of pronunciation gains with mixed results, this study takes a more learner-centered approach and examines the impact of socio-psychological factors on learning foreign pronunciation, which appears to be a highly individual and at times conflict-prone process with which sojourners are confronted. The study draws on the cases of five Canadian students who studied abroad at German universities for one or two semesters. The data collection involved a learning history questionnaire; semi-structured interviews pre-, mid-, and post-sojourn; and bi-weekly e-journals. The data was analyzed and interpreted within the framework of narrative analysis. The results show how sojourners’ beliefs about the importance of pronunciation, community participation, identity-related challenges, and obstacles to pronunciation learning influence and help explain individually different learning behaviors and results.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Barcelos, A.M.F
    (2003) Researching beliefs about SLA: A critical review. In P. Kalaja & A.M.F. Barcelos (Eds.), Beliefs about SLA: New research approaches (pp.7–33). Dordrecht, NL: Kluwer. doi: 10.1007/978‑1‑4020‑4751‑0_1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4751-0_1 [Google Scholar]
  2. Derwing, T.M
    (2003) What do ESL students say about their accents?Canadian Modern Language Review, 59, 547–566. doi: 10.3138/cmlr.59.4.547
    https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.59.4.547 [Google Scholar]
  3. Díaz-Campos, M
    (2004) Context of learning in the acquisition of Spanish second language phonology. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 249–273. doi: 10.1017/S0272263104262052
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263104262052 [Google Scholar]
  4. Dörnyei, Z
    (2003) Attitudes, orientations, and motivations in language learning: Advances in theory, research, and applications. In Z. Dörnyei (Ed.), Attitudes, orientations and motivations in language learning (pp.3–32). Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Duff, P.A
    (2008) Case study research in applied linguistics. New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Eckman, F
    (1987) Markedness and the contrastive analysis hypothesis. In G. Ioup & S. Weinberger (Eds.), Interlanguage phonology (pp.55–69). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Firth, A. , & Wagner, J
    (1997) On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. The Modern Language Journal, 81(3), 285–300. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.1997.tb05480.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1997.tb05480.x [Google Scholar]
  8. Flick, U. , von Kardorff, E. , & Steinke, I
    (2004) What is qualitative research? An introduction to the field. In U. Flick , E. von Kardorff , & I. Steinke (Eds.), A companion to qualitative research (pp.3–11). London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Furman, N. , Goldberg, D. , & Lusin, N
    (2010) Enrollments in languages other than English in United States institutions of higher education, fall 2009. Modern Language Association. RetrievedApril 24 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Gatbonton, E. , Trofimovich, P. , & Magid, M
    (2005) Learners’ ethnic group affiliation and L2 pronunciation accuracy: A sociolinguistic investigation. TESOL Quarterly, 39(3), 489–511. doi: 10.2307/3588491
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3588491 [Google Scholar]
  11. Geeslin, K.L. , & Gudmestad, A
    (2008) The acquisition of variation in second-language Spanish: An agenda for integrating the studies of the L2 sound system. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5(2), 137–157.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. George, A
    (2014) Study abroad in central Spain: The development of regional phonological features. Foreign Language Annals, 47(1), 97–114. doi: 10.1111/flan.12065
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12065 [Google Scholar]
  13. Hansen Edwards, J.G
    (2008) Social factors and variation in production in L2 phonology. In J.G. Hansen Edwards & M.L. Zampini (Eds.), Phonology and second language acquisition (pp.251–279). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.36.12han
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.36.12han [Google Scholar]
  14. Hansen Edwards, J.G. , & Zampini, M.L
    (2008) Introduction. In J.G. Hansen Edwards & M.L. Zampini (Eds.), Phonology and second language acquisition (pp.1–11). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.36.01han
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.36.01han [Google Scholar]
  15. Institute of International Education
    (2014) Top 25 destinations of U.S. study abroad students, 2011/12 -2012/13. Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. RetrievedApril 24, 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Jackson, J
    (2008) Language, identity and study abroad: Sociocultural perspectives. London: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Kennedy, S. , Blanchet, J. , & Trofimovich, P
    (2014) Learner pronunciation, awareness, and instruction in French as a second language. Foreign Language Annals, 47(1), 79–96. doi: 10.1111/flan.12066
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12066 [Google Scholar]
  18. Kinginger, C
    (2009) Language learning and study abroad: A critical reading of research. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillian. doi: 10.1057/9780230240766
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230240766 [Google Scholar]
  19. Knouse, S.M
    (2012) The acquisition of dialectal phonemes in a study abroad context: The case of the Castilian theta. Foreign Language Annals, 45(4), 512–542. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2013.12003.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2013.12003.x [Google Scholar]
  20. Kramsch, C
    (2009) The multilingual subject. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Levis, J.M
    (2005) Changing contexts and shifting paradigms in pronunciation teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 39(3), 369–377. doi: 10.2307/3588485
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3588485 [Google Scholar]
  22. Lieblich, A. , Tuval-Mashiach, R. , & Zilber, T
    (1998) Narrative research: Reading, analysis, and interpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Lord, G
    (2010) The combined effects of immersion and instruction on second language pronunciation. Foreign Language Annals, 43(3), 488–503. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01094.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01094.x [Google Scholar]
  24. Lybeck, K
    (2002) Cultural identification and second language pronunciation of Americans in Norway. The Modern Language Journal, 86(2), 174–191. doi: 10.1111/1540‑4781.00143
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-4781.00143 [Google Scholar]
  25. Martinsen, R.A. , Alvord, S.M. , & Tanner, J
    (2014) Perceived foreign accent: Extended stays abroad, level of instruction, and motivation. Foreign Language Annals, 47(1), 66–78. doi: 10.1111/flan.12076
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12076 [Google Scholar]
  26. Marx, N
    (2002) Never quite a ‘native speaker’: Accent and identity in the L2 – and the L1. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 59(2), 264–281. doi: 10.3138/cmlr.59.2.264
    https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.59.2.264 [Google Scholar]
  27. Moyer, A
    (2004) Age, accent and experience in second language acquisition: An integrated approach to critical period inquiry. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (2013) Foreign accent: The phenomenon of non-native speech. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511794407
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511794407 [Google Scholar]
  29. Müller, M
    (2013) Conceptualizing pronunciation as part of translingual/transcultural competence: New impulses for SLA research and the L2 classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 46(2), 213–229. doi: 10.1111/flan.12024
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12024 [Google Scholar]
  30. Müller, M. , & Schmenk, B
    . (in press). Narrating the sound of self: The role of pronunciation in learners’ self-constructions in study-abroad contexts. International Journal of Applied Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Muñoz, C. , & Llanes, A
    (2014) Study abroad and changes in degree of foreign accent in children and adults. The Modern Language Journal, 98(1), 432–449. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2014.12059.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2014.12059.x [Google Scholar]
  32. Munro, M.J
    (2008) Foreign accent and speech intelligibility. In J.G. Hansen Edwards & M.L. Zampini (Eds.), Phonology and second language acquisition (pp.193–218). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.36.10mun
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.36.10mun [Google Scholar]
  33. O’Brien, M.G
    (2003) Longitudinal development of second language German vowels. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  34. (2004) Pronunciation matters. Unterrichtspraxis, 37(1), 1–9. doi: 10.1111/j.1756‑1221.2004.tb00068.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1756-1221.2004.tb00068.x [Google Scholar]
  35. O’Donnell, K
    (2004) Student perceptions of language learning in two contexts: At home and study abroad. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Pittsburgh.
  36. Pellegrino, V.A
    (1998) Student perspective on language learning in a study abroad context. Frontiers, 10, 91–120.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Piller, I
    (2002) Passing for a native speaker: Identity and success in second language learning. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 6(2), 179–206. doi: 10.1111/1467‑9481.00184
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00184 [Google Scholar]
  38. Plews, J.L
    . (2015). Intercultural identity-alignment in second language study abroad, or the more-or-less Canadians. In R. Mitchell , N. Tracy-Ventura , & K. McManus (Eds.) Social interaction, identity and language learning during residence abroad. (pp. 281–304) EUROSLA monograph series 4. http://www.eurosla.org/monographs/EM04/Plews.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Polkinghorne, D.E
    (1995) Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 8(1), 5–23. doi: 10.1080/0951839950080103
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0951839950080103 [Google Scholar]
  40. Riessman, C.K
    (1993) Narrative analysis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. (2003) Analysis of personal narratives. In J.A. Holstein & J.F. Gubrium (Eds.), Inside interviewing: New lenses, new concerns (pp.331–346). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. (2008) Narrative methods for the human sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Ringer-Hilfinger, K
    (2012) Learner acquisition of dialect variation in a study abroad context: The case of the Spanish [q]. Foreign Language Annals, 45(3), 1–17. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2012.01201.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2012.01201.x [Google Scholar]
  44. Saito, K
    (2012) Effects of instruction on L2 pronunciation development: A synthesis of 15 quasi-experimental intervention studies. TESOL Quarterly, 46(4), 842–854. doi: 10.1002/tesq.25
    https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.25 [Google Scholar]
  45. Shoaib, A. , & Dörnyei, Z
    (2005) Affect in lifelong learning: Exploring L2 motivation as a dynamic process. In P. Benson & D. Nunan (Eds.), Learners’ stories: Difference and diversity in language learning (pp.22–41). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Simões, A.R.M
    (1996) Phonetics in second language acquisition: An acoustic study of fluency in adult learners of Spanish. Hispania, 79(1), 87–95. doi: 10.2307/345617
    https://doi.org/10.2307/345617 [Google Scholar]
  47. Stevens, J.J
    (2000) The acquisition of L2 Spanish pronunciation in a study abroad context. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Southern California.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Timmis, I
    (2002) Native-speaker norms and International English: A classroom view. ELT Journal, 56(3), 240–249. doi: 10.1093/elt/56.3.240
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/56.3.240 [Google Scholar]
  49. Wilkerson, M.E
    (2007) (In)variability in accent perception: A comparison of native and non-native speakers of German of varying proficiency on what constitutes “nativeness” of accent in German. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Zuengler, J
    (1988) Identity markers and L2 pronunciation. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 10, 33–49. doi: 10.1017/S027226310000694X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S027226310000694X [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error