Pronunciation Learning Strategy Use, Aptitude, and their Relationship with Pronunciation Performance of Pre-Service English Language Teachers in Chile
Véliz Campos, Mauricio Enrique
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The main objective of this thesis is to establish whether or not there is a relationship between (foreign) language aptitude, pronunciation learning strategies (PLSs), and pronunciation performance. Also, embedded in the major objective is the aim of uncovering which PLSs are most frequently used and which PLSs have been used for the longest period of time. Following a positivistic approach to research, through a correlational and statistically descriptive methodology, all participants were asked to take three tests, each of which was intended to gather data for the three major variables under consideration, namely an adapted version of the Strategic Pronunciation Learning Survey (SPLS), the first two sections of the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT), and a Pronunciation Test (PT), developed by the researcher. The study was conducted at a teacher education university in Chile, with a sample of 43 students, 24 of whom were Year 2 students and 19 were Year 3 students at the time of data collection. The results suggest that there is a good deal of coincidence between those PLSs that are used with the highest frequency and those used with the greatest duration. The results also indicate that the PLSs that are more frequently used and that have been used for the longest period of time by the participants seem to be of a cognitive type, following Oxford’s (1990) broad classification of learning strategies. Finally, the Spearman correlation tests and the diverse statistical models applied reveal that no major correlations were found between PLS frequency/duration and pronunciation accuracy; nor was a major correlation found between language aptitude and pronunciation accuracy. Nonetheless, the application of a statistical model comprising the most frequently used PLSs and those with the longest duration yielded a positive correlation between these PLSs and pronunciation intelligibility levels. Future studies incorporating motivational elements are required to establish how they correlate with pronunciation accuracy in particular. Similarly, research seeking to establish correlations between (a new version of) PLSs, grouped into factors through factor analysis, and pronunciation accuracy is recommended. Lastly, language aptitude – viewed, conceptualised, and quite possibly measured differently, considering differentiating elements (Robinson, 2007; Winke, 2013), is to be further examined to establish whether it can explain pronunciation accuracy in a larger sample of participants.
EdD in TESOL