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Communicative focus on second language phonetic form: Teaching Japanese learners to perceive and produce English /ɹ/ without explicit instruction


The current study examines in depth how two types of form-focused instruction (FFI), which are FFI with and without corrective feedback (CF), can facilitate second language speech perception and production of /ɹ/ by 49 Japanese learners in English as a Foreign Langage settings. FFI effectiveness was assessed via three outcome measures (perception, controlled production, and spontaneous production) and also according to two lexical contexts (trained and untrained items). Two experimental groups received 4 hr of FFI treatment to notice and practice the target feature of /ɹ/ (but without any explicit instruction) in meaningful discourse. A control group (n = 14) received comparable instruction in the absence of FFI. During FFI, the instructors provided CF only to students in the FFI + CF group (n = 18) by recasting their mispronunciations of /ɹ/, while no CF was provided to those in the FFI-only group (n = 17). Analyses of pre- and posttests showed that FFI itself can sufficiently promote the development of speech perception and production of /ɹ/ and the acquisitional value of CF in second language speech learning remains unclear. The results suggest that the beginner learners without much phonetic knowledge on how to repair their mispronunciation of /ɹ/ should be encouraged to learn the target sound only through FFI in a receptive mode without much pressure for modified output.

Corresponding author
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Kazuya Saito, Waseda University, School of Commerce, 1-6-1 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-8050, Japan. E-mail:
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