Disentangling Research on Study Abroad and Pronunciation: Methodological and Programmatic Considerations

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Date
2016-07-01
Authors
Nagle, Charles
Morales-Front, Alfonso
Nagle, Charles
Moorman, Colleen
Sanz, Cristina
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World Languages and Cultures
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World Languages and Cultures
Abstract

Despite intuitive and theoretically motivated claims that Study Abroad (SA) is an optimal environment for language development, including pronunciation gains, research on its effectiveness has produced contradictory results. Furthermore, there is little known about short-term study abroad programs, where matriculation numbers are increasing faster than ever before. This chapter analyzes pre- and post-SA oral production data from 18 advanced learners of Spanish, focusing on stop consonants (/p, t, k, b, d, g/). Development was defined in terms of voice onset time for /p, t, k/ and a 5-point lenition measure for /b, d, g/. Learners produced significantly shorter VOT values after the SA program, though there was not a similar improvement in lenition score. Therefore, the intensive, six-week SA experience yielded substantial gains in L2 pronunciation for these advanced learners of Spanish. Results are discussed in light of advances in both research methodology and study abroad program design.

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This is a chapter from Handbook of Research on Study Abroad Programs and Outward Mobility (2016). Posted with permission.

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