Foreign accent, second language learning, foreign accent learning, second language teaching, foreign language teaching, phonological acquisition


The issues relative to foreign accent continue to puzzle second language researchers, educators, and learners today. Although once thought to be at the root, maturational constraints have fallen short of definitively accounting for the myriad levels and rates of phonological attainment (Bialystok & Miller, 1999, p. 128). This study, a Posttest-only Control Group Design, examined how the pronunciation accuracy of adult, English language learners, as demonstrated by utterance length, was related to two input stimuli: auditory-only input and auditoryorthographic input. Utterance length and input modality were further examined with the added variables of native language, specifically Arabic and Spanish, and second language proficiency as defined by unofficial TOEFL Listening Comprehension and Reading Comprehension section scores. Results from independent t tests indicated a statistically significant difference in utterance length based on input modality (t(192) = -3.285. p = .001), while with the added variable of native language, factorial ANOVA results indicated no statistically significance difference for the population studied. In addition, multiple linear regression analyses examined input modality and second language proficiency as predictors of utterance length accuracy and revealed a statistically significant relationship (R 2 = .108, adjusted R 2 = .089, F(3, 144) = 5.805, p = .001), with 11% of the utterance length variance accounted for by these two factors predictors. Lastly, hierarchical regressions applied to two blocks of factors revealed statistical significance: (a) input modality/native language (R 2 = .069, adjusted R 2 = .048, F(2, 87) = 3.230, p = .044) and ListenComp (R 2 = .101, adjusted R 2 = .070, F(3, 86) = 3.232, p = .026), with ListenComp iv increasing the predictive power by 3%; (b) input modality/native language (R 2 = .069, adjusted R 2 = .048, F(2, 87) = 3.230, p = .044) and ReadComp (R 2 = .112, adjusted R 2 = .081, F(1, 86) = 3.629, p = .016), with ReadComp increasing the predictive power by 4%; and (c) input modality/native language (R 2 = .069, adjusted R 2 = .048, F(2, 87) = 3.230, p = .044) and ListenComp/ReadComp (R 2 = .114, adjusted R 2 = .072, F(2, 85) = 2.129, p = .035), with ListenComp/ReadComp increasing the predictive power by 4%. The implications of this research are that by considering issues relative to input modality and second language proficiency levels especially when teaching new vocabulary to adult second language learners, the potential for improved pronunciation accuracy is maximized. Furthermore, the heightened attention to the role of input modality as a cognitive factor on phonological output in second language teaching and learning may redirect the manner in which target language phonology is approached.


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Graduation Date





Nutta, Joyce


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Dean's Office, Education

Degree Program

Education; TESOL








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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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