Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.251751
Title: Japanese pitch accent and the English-speaking learner : a study of production, perception and teaching
Author: Umezawa, Kaoru
ISNI:       0000 0001 3540 9226
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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Abstract:
The pitch accent system is a prominent and characteristic feature of spoken Japanese, and an important factor in the intelligibility and acceptability of Japanese spoken by learners of the language. The aim of this thesis is to clarify some of the major problems in the acquisition of the pitch accent of Japanese (at an isolated word level) by English-speaking learners. Extensive data and analysis from both controlled experiments and actual classroom activity are presented. Some major characteristics of Japanese pitch accent are described in Chapter 1, followed by Chapter 2 which presents a survey of how Japanese pitch accent is currently taught. A questionnaire distributed to teachers of Japanese in the UK, Japan and Canada was used to gather information about the attitudes of teachers to pronunciation teaching and the practical problems encountered. The results show that pronunciation teaching in general, and pitch accent teaching in particular, are often accorded low priority and are restricted from lack of time. The chapter also includes a systematic analysis of the methods and materials offered by a range of current textbooks and teachers' manuals. Chapter 3 deals with previous studies of second language acquisition. Chapter 4 reports on an experiment seeking common tendencies in the pitch accent errors made by advanced English-speaking learners. It is clear however that individual speakers seem to have their own favourite patterns which they impose on various target types; the absence of uniform trends indicates that straightforward interference from English cannot be an explanation for errors at this level. Chapter 5 reports an experiment conducted with English monolingual subjects to induce intarference from English word-stress rules on Japanese-like words embedded in English; the results are in accordance with prediction, but remote from the errors made by subjects in the actual process of learning Japanese. Chapter 6 reports data gathered in teaching a cohort of 31 students over a period of eleven weeks in a British university. A range of language-laboratory tasks covered discrimination, identification, imitation and notation of pitch-accent patterns. Considerable differences in the relative difficulty of different tasks are revealed. Among major findings is the result that tasks depending on perceptual or imitative skills produce high scores, while many of the learners' own production errors can be explained as lack of lexical knowledge. The thesis demonstrates that the difficulties faced by English-speaking learners are more complex than has generally been supposed, and it is hoped that the thesis will lead to concrete and practical improvements in the teaching of pitch accent.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.251751  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pronunciation
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