NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ880988
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-0957-1736
Thinking Aloud about L2 Decoding: An Exploration of the Strategies Used by Beginner Learners when Pronouncing Unfamiliar French Words
Woore, Robert
Language Learning Journal, v38 n1 p3-17 Apr 2010
"Decoding"--converting the written symbols (or graphemes) of an alphabetical writing system into the sounds (or phonemes) they represent, using knowledge of the language's symbol/sound correspondences--has been argued to be an important but neglected skill in the teaching of second language (L2) French in English secondary schools. Several longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have highlighted poor levels of L2 decoding proficiency amongst beginner learners of French at Key Stage 3. However, there has been less investigation of these learners' strategic reasoning when attempting to decode French words. Previous exploratory research in this area found that, in the absence of adequate knowledge of French decoding conventions, participants relied on English decoding processes to deal with French words. There was also some evidence that the most successful decoders were those who were aware of this influence of English and sought to move beyond it, thinking consciously about how to pronounce words in a more "French" way. The current small-scale, exploratory study set out to investigate in more detail the conscious strategies employed by participants as they tried to generate "French" pronunciations of unfamiliar words. Twelve beginner learners of French of varying attainment levels were asked to read aloud unknown French words, and to describe their thought processes. Reading the words aloud proved to be an effortful, conscious process for these participants, similar to a problem-solving task and very different from their automatic L1 decoding. They used a range of conscious strategies to support their L2 decoding, and there was a high degree of consistency among the strategies employed by the various participants. However, the strategies often led to incorrect outcomes because they were not underpinned by secure knowledge of French symbol/sound correspondences. (Contains 1 table and 2 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)