In a faculty-led assessment carried out in a 300-level Spanish phonetics course at Western Washington University, students demonstrated fossilized English transfer features that interfered with their production and perception of native-like Spanish speech. Furthermore, students were unaware of the key phonological differences between English and Spanish that produce these transfer features, and reported low confidence in their ability to interact with native-like Spanish speech.
To address this deficit, Professors Jordan Sandoval (Linguistics) and Kirsten Drickey (Modern and Classical Languages) partnered with upper-division students in Spanish and Linguistics to design and implement curricular components that give students explicit pronunciation instruction earlier in their study of Spanish.
This interdisciplinary partnership allows the students on the research team to build practical skills in curriculum design and educational technologies, as well as hands-on experience with research design and data analysis. The research team is responsible for the creation of this website, along with in-class lessons and online modules that introduce and explore the English transfer features most common in the productions of L1 English speakers studying Spanish at the university level.
This project aims to:
- Reduce, through early phonological intervention, common pronunciation errors that interfere with communication and result in nonnative-like articulations
- Increase student confidence in their own pronunciation abilities
- Build student confidence with respect to their ability to interact with native-Spanish speakers
- Demonstrate techniques of self-analysis that allow students to identify their own errors
- Introduce phonological contrasts between English and Spanish
- Design curriculum that is accessible in terms of both technical linguistic information and easy integration into existing curricula, for students and instructors
To learn more about our team click here.