When all is said and done: A Cognitive Approach to Intelligibility

| July 15, 2016

Title: When all is said and done: A Cognitive Approach to Intelligibility

Keywords: Intelligibility, pronunciation, cognitive phonology, phonetics, second language acquisition, figure ground, cognitive linguistics, curriculum design, EFL, ESL, TESOL, TESL, ESOL, teaching methodology, corrective feedback, form focused instruction, cognitive phonology.

Rolf I. Naidoo
Assistant Professor
Department of English Language and Literature
College of Humanities
Daegu University



Pronunciation is central to intelligibility and yet omitted from curriculums in South Korean university EFL courses. Research in this area shows there are benefits from direct instruction Saalfield (2011). This study explores the use of the cognitive linguistics concepts figure and ground in pronunciation instruction to aid segmental improvement in learner production and awareness. Ninety six Korean freshmen participated in the study. Fifty nine learners received the Figure-Ground treatment administered over a semester. Nineteen learners in a suprasegmental group received a commercially available suprasegmental curriculum and eighteen learners in the control group follow the standard curriculum with no pronunciation instruction. Pre- and post-test measures were conducted to ascertain differences in performance between groups. Learners participated in 3 forms of assessment, controlled sentence production (CSP), spontaneous task production (STP) and a student self-assessment questionnaire (SSAQ). A two level treatment grounded in the cognitive concepts attention, awareness, and noticing form the basis for activities. The results show an increase in learner awareness and production in both the CSP and STP. A student self-assessment questionnaire depicts attitudes and beliefs of participants to provide a more holistic view of awareness and production and any further changes in attitudes.



Category: 2015 Thesis, Thesis