Second Language Instruction with Phonological Knowledge: Teaching Arabic to Speakers of English
This study examined whether explicit instruction in phonetics and the phonologies of English and Arabic improved the sound production and recognition skills of adult native speakers of English learning Arabic as a foreign language. The study utilized an intervention strategy that introduced the letters and sounds of Arabic to two groups of adult English-speaking learners of Arabic.
Forty-six students of Arabic 101 at The University of Montana participated in the study as the control and experimental groups. The experimental group received instruction on the letters and sounds of Arabic with an introduction to phonetics and the phonologies of English and Arabic for a period of 20 classroom hours over a period of five weeks, whereas the control group received instruction on the letters and sounds of Arabic without the phonetics and English-Arabic phonology component for the same period of time.
The two groups took a sound recognition pre-test, sound recognition post-test, and sound production post-test. Independent two-sample t-Tests were used to analyze the data collected from the tests. Students in the experimental group responded to a survey to reflect on their views on value of the instruction on the phonetics and English-Arabic phonology component.
Data analysis resulted in important and statistically consistent differences in the sound production and sound recognition with the students in the experimental group achieving higher scores than the students in the control group, especially for those sounds that do not exist in English and for those that exist but have different allophonic distributions (p <.001). For the most part, students in the experimental group stated that it is important to include this type of instruction when teaching a second language.
The results of this study strongly suggest that including an introductory component to articulatory phonetics and the phonologies of the first and target languages improves sound production and sound recognition skills of adults learning a second language.
Advisor:Lucy H Paulson; Merle Farrier; Rhea Ashmore; Stephanie Wasta; Anthony Mattina
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:10/01/2008