Presentation on theme: "Can L1 reading instruction affect L2 listening ability? Richard Pemberton School of Education, University of Nottingham Language Research Day, LSRI, UoN."— Presentation transcript:
Can L1 reading instruction affect L2 listening ability? Richard Pemberton School of Education, University of Nottingham Language Research Day, LSRI, UoN 22 April 2009
The problem In six experimental studies (Pemberton 2003), HK Intermediate-level learners consistently recognised at most 3 out of every 4 of the most frequent words of English in BBC news itens Recognition rate for content words no higher than for grammatical words Comprehension likely to be severely compromised
Why is this a problem? Most of the participants had had years of English-medium education All were: studying/working in an English-medium education encountering English on a daily basis familiar with the most frequent words of English
The idea Participants had misheard abducted as of doctors etc. Would a more phonics-based approach to the teaching of reading help HK students to recognise abducted as a verb form? No direct evidence of the extent of phonics teaching in HK English classrooms. But could the teaching of pinyin in mainland China be the key? Are mainland students better than HK students at English spoken word recognition?
Phonological awareness (PA) The ability to perceive, analyse and manipulate speech sounds PA tasks: deleting, counting, blending, matching etc: Matching: e.g. which word has the same beginning sound as cat, rhyme as cat, final sound as cat?
Strands in Phonological awareness research Relationship between PA and reading ability Relationship between reading experience and PA
Previous research: L1 reading and L1 phonological awareness Cheung et al (2001) 60 children from HK, 60 from Guangzhou (half of each pre-readers, half readers) Guangzhou readers significantly better at matching L1 onsets and codas
Previous research: L1 reading and L2 reading Jackson et al (1999) Students from HK (10), Taiwan (48), Korea (28) read English texts silently (reading speed) and aloud No L2 advantage for those learning to read their L1 (Taiwanese and Koreans) using alphabetic system over HK students
Previous research: L1 reading and L2 phonological awareness Holm & Dodd (1996) 40 students at Australian university (incl 10 HK, 10 mainland China) HK students markedly weaker than others on all the PA tasks and reading of pseudowords
Previous research: L1 reading and L1 phonological awareness/speech processing Cheung & Chen (2004) 30 HK and 36 Guangzhou students (all Cantonese speakers) Pinyin group significantly outperformed HK group at L1 PA tasks and reacted significantly quicker to phonologically related L1 primes (syllables) in shadowing task
Previous research: L1 reading and L2 phonological awareness Cheung (2007) 60 HK students Ability to read L2 passages aloud corresponded to PA and phoneme discrimination - but not with listening comprehension
Preliminary research: spoken word recognition test 100 single words taken from the 1K, 2K and 3K frequency levels likely to be known to the students Words read aloud and students asked to write down what they heard
Preliminary research: participants 9 HK and 11 mainland Chinese students, postgrads at UoN HK group had started to learn English at kindergarten, mainland group at junior secondary school (with 2 exceptions) Ave IELTS Listening scores: HK 7.7, mainland 6.6
Preliminary research: results
Ave no. of cases where Ss failed to recognise phonemes, by syllable part
Caveats Tiny sample No account taken of vocabulary size or density of phonological neighbourhoods Likely to be great variation within mainland Chinese population Likely to be variety of practice within mainland China in terms of teaching of pinyin and English phonics (ditto in HK re phonics)
Future research: Stage 1 Data collection from HK/Ningbo/UoN re PA and listening difficulties Development of online training materials (e.g. word recognition from mini-lecture chunks)
Future research: Stage 2 More in-depth, longitudinal data collection Further development of online materials
Potential applications Recommendations for teaching of pinyin English training program for adults (PA, automaticity in word recognition etc) Comparable age-normed PA tests across three languages
References Cheung, H The role of phonological awareness in mediating between reading and listening to speech. Language and Cognitive Processes 22(1): Cheung, H. & Chen, H-C Early orthographic experience modifies both phonological awareness and on-line speech processing. Language and Cognitive Processes 19(1): Cheung, H. Chen, H.C., Lai, C.Y., Wong, O.C. & Hills, M The development of phonological awareness: effects of spoken language experiences and orthography. Cognition 81: Holm, A. & Dodd, B The effect of first written language on the acquisition of English literacy. Cognition 59: Jackson, N.E., Chen, H., Goldsberry, L., Kim, A. & Vanderwerff, C Effects of variation in orthographic information on Asian and American readers English text reading. Reading and Writing 11: Pemberton, R Spoken word recognition and L2 listening performance: an investigation of the ability of Hong Kong learners to recognise the most frequent words of English when listening to news broadcasts. PhD thesis. University of Wales, Swansea.