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ERIC Number: EJ1334460
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2022
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1221
Practical Prosody: New Hope for Teaching German Plurals
Schuhmann, Katharina S.; Smith, Laura Catharine
Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, v55 n1 p1-24 Spr 2022
German plural formation appears unsystematic and largely arbitrary to many second language (L2) learners. While some approaches have attempted to identify patterns and rules to help L2 learners (e.g., Anton et al., 2017; Di Donato & Clyde, 2020; Kraiss, 2014), one central observation from linguistic analysis has been absent from pedagogical advances: German plurals show a strong tendency to end in a syllabic trochee (e.g., Wegener, 1999; Wiese, 2000, 2001, 2009). This article seeks to bridge the gap between linguistic insights and L2 pedagogy by presenting an instructional approach integrating the trochee. We provide support for this approach based on an exploratory study comparing two groups of L2 speakers that both received several suffix-predicting rules for specific word endings and completed controlled practice exercises on plurals. Crucially, only one group received additional instruction on the prosodic pattern of German plurals. While both groups made gains, the prosodic training group showed a greater increase in confidence and accuracy in plural formation, particularly among lower-proficiency speakers. The prosodic training group also produced more trochaic plurals for nonce words, thus responding more like native speakers. Overall, we suggest that this linguistically-informed strategy might help students learn plurals more effectively by delimiting suffix options based on prosody.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A