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ERIC Number: EJ782590
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0042-062X
Pronunciation Matters
O'Brien, Mary Grantham
Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, v37 n1 p1-9 Spr 2004
This article presents the results of a longitudinal study investigating the pronunciation of American students learning German, focusing on the importance of stress, rhythm, and intonation for a native-like accent in German. The present study investigated German pronunciation for two groups of American students from the Midwest. Students in one group spent the 2001-2002 academic year as students at a German university, and those in the other group spent the same year taking German classes at a university in the United States. Three research questions were investigated in this study: (1) Do native speakers focus more on individual sounds or on the overall feel of the speech as indicated by stress, rhythm, and intonation when judge samples? (2) What is the effect of language environment (e.g., study abroad vs. study in the United States) on global pronunciation ratings given by native speakers of German? (3) What are the factors that promote native-like global pronunciation? The results of the current study support previous studies that found that segmentals and prosodic aspects are not completely independent, and that improvement in global foreign accent does not necessarily correlate with improvement in individual segments. Among the practical implications for classroom teachers that may be drawn from this study are that a focus on the prosodic aspects of speech and a few shibboleth sounds should be included in classroom training. (Contains 1 figure.)
American Association of Teachers of German. 112 Haddontowne Court #104, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-3668. Tel: 856-795-5553; Fax: 856-795-9398; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany