Investigating Phonological Changes Following English Speech Contest Participation in Japan

Page No.: 
133
Writer(s): 
Philip Head, Kochi City Board of Education

English language speech contests are popular in Japan. However, although most participants show improvement in their pronunciation of a particular speech, it is unknown if these phonological improvements are transferable to students’ general speaking abilities. To test this, a longitudinal analysis of the pronunciation errors of Japanese junior high school students (18 speech contest participants and 12 controls) was undertaken. The results show a significant reduction in the number of th errors (/ð/ and /θ/) made by students following speech contest participation. However, there was no significant reduction found in the other types of common pronunciation errors examined. There was also a significant increase in the number of /ð/ errors made by speech contest participants between the completion of a speech contest and the following semester.

英語スピーチコンテストは日本で人気がある。しかし、多くの参加者が特定のスピーチの発音においては進歩がみられるという一方、生徒の全体的なスピーキング能力において彼らの音声学上の進歩の推移については知られていない。これを調べるため、日本の中学生(18人のスピーチコンテスト参加者と12人の非参加者)の発音エラーについて長期的な分析を行った。結果、スピーチコンテスト参加後の生徒には「th」の発音エラーの著しい減少がみられたが、その他の典型的な発音エラーには有意な減少は見られなかった。また、次の学期になるとコンテスト参加者の「ð」のエラーの数は著しく増加した。

 
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