Listening is widely regarded as an important skill that is difficult and necessary to teach in L2 classrooms. Listening requires both top-down and bottom-up processing, yet pedagogical techniques for the latter are often lacking. This study explores the efficacy of pronunciation instruction (PI) for improving learners’ bottom-up processing. The study recruited 116 relatively novice learners of Spanish as a foreign language and provided the experimental groups with brief lessons in PI emphasizing segmental or suprasegmental features followed by production-focused or perception-focused practice. Learners’ bottom-up processing skill was assessed with a sentence-level dictation task. Learners given PI on suprasegmental features followed by perception-focused practice found target language speech to be more intelligible than controls, indicating that they had improved their bottom-up processing. However, learners given PI on segmental features followed by production-focused practice found target language speech to be more comprehensible. The results indicate that PI is a worthwhile intervention for reasons that go beyond pronunciation, even when instructional time is limited, and that a range of features and practice types should be included in PI to improve listening skills.

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Copyright © 2018 Wiley Online Library. Article first published online: October 9, 2018.

DOI: 10.1111/modl.12512

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Kissling, Elizabeth M. “Pronunciation Instruction Can Improve L2 Learners’ Bottom-Up Processing for Listening.” The Modern Language Journal 102, no. 4 (December 2018): 653–7