A Comparative Study of Intuitive-Imitative and Analytic-Linguistic Approaches to Teaching Pronunciation: Does Age Play a Role?

Roohani, Ali
March 2013
Asian EFL Journal;Mar2013, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p87
Academic Journal
The indispensable place of pronunciation in the vast realm of communication has been recognized by many second/foreign language instructors recently. However, another question which remains substantial in the field concerns the way to improve learners' pronunciation. This study explores two different approaches towards pronunciation teaching—intuitive-imitative vs. analytic-linguistic—in the case of non-Persian sounds in an EFL context in Iran. The effect of one personal factor, age, has been investigated as a moderating variable in applying the two instructional approaches. To this end, 50 low intermediate Iranian EFL learners, aged between 13 and 20, were selected and randomly assigned into two experimental groups (intuitive-imitative and analytic-linguistic groups). To collect the data, a pronunciation test, including 60 test items, was administered to both groups in a pretest-posttest design. Paired t-tests showed a statistically significant increase in the posttest pronunciation test scores with a large effect size for the instruction in improving the learners' pronunciation ability. Also, independent t-tests indicated the greater effectiveness of the analytic-linguistic approach in teaching the pronunciation of English sounds which do not exist in Persian. Furthermore, the age of participants was found to be a significant factor in the records of effectiveness for a particular instructive approach. The intuitive-imitation approach was more effective for the younger participants (i.e., 13-16 years old) whereas the analytic-linguistic approach was more effective for the older ones (i.e., 17-20 years old).


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