Learning English Intonation Through Exposure to Resynthesized Self-produced Stimuli

Zhongmin Li, Andrew-Peter Lian, Butsakorn Yodkamlue


EFL learners are prone to having problems in pronunciation, while their problems in intonation are more salient. The Chinese EFL pronunciation classroom has long been criticized for teacher-centered, “one-size-fits-all” teaching, which is inefficient and ineffective for solving individual student’s specific pronunciation problems. This study conducted an experiment to examine the effectiveness of exposure to resynthesized self-produced stimuli for intonation learning. The participants were 66 first year English majors studying at a university in China. The treatment was a form of English intonation training wherein the students in the experimental group used their resynthesized self-produced stimuli (their own voices) as the pronunciation model for learning while the control group used a model produced by a native speaker. After the training, the results of the intonation production test showed that the experimental group outperformed the control group in eight intonation patterns. The students’ problems in intonation support Mennen’s (2007) claim that intonation learning involves a first stage of acquiring the phonological representations of intonation patterns and a second stage of acquiring the phonetic realizations of those patterns. The results of this study revealed that exposure to resynthesized self-produced stimuli for intonation learning was as effective as the native speaker model for helping the students form the phonological representations of intonation patterns, while it was more effective than the native speaker model for facilitating the students to produce more accurate phonetic realizations of those patterns.


English intonation; precision language education; modified stimuli; phonological representation; phonetic realization

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/gema-2020-2001-04


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