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IMPLICATIONS OF ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY IN THE L2 CLASSROOM

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to report ongoing exploratory research into the potential implications of ultrasound technology to L2 pronunciation instruction. An initial exploratory study, conducted in the spring of 2006, constructed a JFL (Japanese as a Foreign Language) classroom which featured both ultrasound-based and conventional instruction. The target articulations of this classroom were (1) long vowels, (2) nasals, and (3) flaps. The study yielded both qualitative and quantitative results. Qualitative results indicated that students responded extremely well to ultrasound-based instruction (teacher modeling and student interaction with the ultrasound) while they did not respond well to practice sentences and ultrasound model videos. Quantitative results, although not significant, did document general improvement in L2 pronunciation for all subjects over the course of the study.  Results for individual target articulations were mixed. A follow-up study will adopt an experimental approach in order to begin determining if in fact a causal relationship exists between ultrasound technology and improved L2 pronunciation instruction. In addition, the follow-up study will address the shortcomings of the initial case study.

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Meadows, B., (2007) “IMPLICATIONS OF ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY IN THE L2 CLASSROOM”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 14, p.15-41.

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Bryan Meadows (University of Arizona)

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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