Skip to main content


  • Kazuya Saito (a1)

The present study examines whether and to what degree providing explicit phonetic information (EI) at the beginning of form-focused instruction (FFI) on second language pronunciation can enhance the generalizability and magnitude of FFI effectiveness by increasing learners’ ability to notice a new phone. Participants were 49 Japanese learners of English in English as a foreign language setting. Whereas the control group (n = 14) received meaning-oriented lessons without any focus on form, the experimental groups received 4 hr of FFI treatment designed to encourage them to practice the target feature of an English /ɹ/ in meaningful discourse. Instructors provided EI (i.e., multiple exposure to an exaggerated model pronunciation of /ɹ/ and rule presentation on the relevant articulatory configurations) to the FFI+EI group (n = 17) but not to the FFI-only group (n = 18). Their pre- and posttest performance was acoustically analyzed according to various lexical, task, and following vowel conditions. The results of the ANOVAs showed that (a) the FFI-only group demonstrated moderate improvement with medium effects (e.g., change from hybrid exemplars to poor exemplars), particularly in familiar lexical contexts, and (b) the FFI+EI group not only demonstrated considerable improvement with large effects (e.g., change from hybrid exemplars to good exemplars) but also generalized the instructional gains to unfamiliar lexical contexts beyond the instructional materials.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kazuya Saito, School of Commerce, Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishi Waseda Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-8050, Japan; e-mail:
Hide All
Best, C., & Tyler, M. (2007). Nonnative and second-language speech perception. In Bohn, O. & Munro, M. (Eds.), Language experience in second language speech learning: In honour of James Emil Flege (pp. 1334). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Boersma, P., & Weenik, D. (2009). Praat: Doing phonetic by computer [Computer software]. Retrieved December 2009, from
Bradlow, A. (2008). Training non-native language sound patterns. In Hansen, J. & Zampini, M. (Eds.), Phonology and second language acquisition (pp. 287308). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Bradlow, A., & Pisoni, D. (1999). Recognition of spoken words by native and non-native listeners: Talker-, listener- and item-related factors. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 106, 2074–n2085.
Bradlow, A., Pisoni, D., Akahane-Yamada, R., & Tohkura, Y. (1997). Training Japanese listeners to identify English /r/ and /l/. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 101, 22992310.
Bundgaard-Nielsen, R. L., Best, C. T., & Tyler, M. D. (2011a). Vocabulary size is associated with second-language vowel perception performance in adult learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 33, 433461.
Bundgaard-Nielsen, R. L., Best, C. T., & Tyler, M. D. (2011b). Vocabulary size matters: The assimilation of second-language Australian English vowels to first-language Japanese vowel categories. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32, 5167.
Campbell, F., Gick, B., Wilson, I., & Vatikiotis-Bateson, E. (2010). Spatial and temporal properties of gestures in North American English /ɹ/. Language and Speech, 53, 4969.
Catford, J., & Pisoni, D. (1970). Auditory vs. articulatory training in exotic sounds. Modern Language Journal, 54, 447481.
Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D., & Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching pronunciation: A reference for learners of English to speakers of other languages. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Cutler, A., Dahan, D., & van Donselaar, W. (1997). Prosody and the comprehension of spoken language: A literature review. Language and Speech, 40, 141201.
DeKeyser, R. (2003). Implicit and explicit learning. In Long, M. & Doughty, C. (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 313348). Oxford: Blackwell.
DeKeyser, R. (Ed.). (2007). Practice in a second language: Perspectives from applied linguistics and cognitive psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Derwing, T., & Munro, M. (2005). Second language accent and pronunciation teaching: A research-based approach. TESOL Quarterly, 39, 379397.
Derwing, T. M., Rossiter, M. J., Munro, M. J., & Thomson, R. I. (2004). L2 fluency: Judgments on different tasks. Language Learning, 54, 655679.
Diehl, R., Lotto, A., & Holt, L. (2004). Speech perception. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 149179.
Doughty, C. (2003). Instructed SLA: Constraints, compensation, and enhancement. In Long, M. & Doughty, C. (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 257310). Oxford: Blackwell.
Elliott, A. (1997). On the teaching and acquisition of pronunciation within a communicative approach. Hispania, 80, 95108.
Ellis, R. (2002). Does form-focused instruction affect the acquisition of implicit knowledge? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 223236.
Espy-Wilson, C. (1992). Acoustic measures for linguistic features distinguishing the semivowels /wjrl/ in American English. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 92, 736751.
Espy-Wilson, C., Boyce, S., Jackson, M., Narayanan, S., & Alwan, A. (2000). Acoustic modeling of American English /r/. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 108, 343356.
Fernandez, C. (2008). Reexamining the role of explicit information in processing instruction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 277305.
Flege, J. (1989). Chinese subjects’ perception of the word-final English /t/-/d/ contrast: Performance before and after training. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 86, 16841697.
Flege, J. (1995). Second language speech learning. In Strange, W. (Ed.), Speech perception and linguistic experience: Issues in cross-language research (pp. 233277). Timonium, MD: York Press.
Flege, J. (2003). Assessing constraints on second-language segmental production and perception. In Meyer, A. & Schiller, N. (Eds.), Phonetics and phonology in language comprehension and production: Differences and similarities (pp. 319355). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Flege, J. (2009). Give input a chance! In Piske, T. & Young-Scholten, M. (Eds.), Input matters in SLA (pp.175190). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Flege, J., Frieda, E., Walley, A., & Randazza, L. (1998). Lexical factors and segmental accuracy in second-language speech production. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 155188.
Flege, J., Takagi, N., & Mann, V. (1995). Japanese adults learn to produce English /ɹ/ and /l/ accurately. Language and Speech, 38, 2555.
Gaskell, G., & Dumay, N. (2003). Lexical competition and the acquisition of novel words. Cognition, 89, 105132.
Han, Z., Park, E., & Combs, C. (2008). Textual enhancement of input: Issues and possibility. Applied Linguistics, 29, 597618.
Hattori, K., & Iverson, P. (2009). English /r/-/l/ category assimilation by Japanese adults: Individual differences and the link to identification accuracy. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, 469479.
Henry, N., Culman, H., & VanPatten, B. (2009). More on the effects of explicit information in instructed SLA. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 31, 559575.
Imai, S., Walley, A., & Flege, J. (2005). Lexical frequency and neighborhood density effects on the recognition of native and Spanish-accented words by native English and Spanish listeners. Acoustical Society of America, 117, 896907.
Iverson, P., Kuhl, P. K., Akahane-Yamada, R., Diesch, E., Tohkura, Y., Kettermann, A., & Siebert, C. (2003). A perceptual interference account of acquisition difficulties for non-native phonemes. Cognition, 87, 847857.
Kuhl, P. K. (2000). A new view of language acquisition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 97, 1185011857.
Kuhl, P. K. (2004). Early language acquisition: Cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 831843.
Larson-Hall, J. (2006). What does more time buy you? Another look at the effects of long-term residence on production accuracy of English /r/ and /l/ by Japanese speakers. Language and Speech, 49, 521548.
Lively, S., Logan, J., & Pisoni, D. (1993). Training Japanese listeners to identify English /ɹ/ and /l/. II: The role of phonetic environments and talker variability in learning new perceptual categories. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 94, 12421255.
Lotto, A. J., Sato, M., & Diehl, R. (2004). Mapping the task for the second language learner: The case of Japanese acquisition of /r/ and /l/. In Slifka, J., Manuel, S., & Matthies, M. (Eds.), From sound to sense: 50+ years of discoveries in speech communication (pp. C381C386). Cambridge, MA: Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.
Lyster, R. (1998). Negotiation of form, recasts, and explicit correction in relation to error types and learner repair in immersion classrooms. Language Learning, 48, 183218.
Lyster, R. (2004). Differential effects of prompts and recasts in form-focused instruction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 399432.
Lyster, R. (2007). Learning and teaching languages through content: A counterbalanced approach. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Norris, J., & Ortega, L. (2000). Effectiveness of L2 instruction: A research synthesis and quantitative meta-analysis. Language Learning, 50, 417528.
Oswald, F. L., & Plonsky, L. (2010). Meta-analysis in second-language research: Choices and challenges. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 30, 85110.
Ranta, L., & Lyster, R. (2007). A cognitive approach to improving immersion students’ oral language abilities: The awareness-practice-feedback sequence. In DeKeyser, R. (Ed.), Practice in a second language: Perspectives from applied linguistics and cognitive psychology (pp. 141160). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Saito, K. (2011). Effects of FFI on L2 phonological development of /ɹ/ by Japanese learners of English (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Saito, K., & Lyster, R. (2012). Effects of form-focused instruction and corrective feedback on L2 pronunciation development of /ɹ/ by Japanese learners of English. Language Learning, 62, 595633.
Sheen, Y. (2006). Exploring the relationship between characteristics of recasts and learner uptake. Language Teaching Research, 10, 361392.
Sheldon, A., & Strange, W. (1982). The acquisition of /ɹ/ and /l/ by Japanese learners of English: Evidence that speech production can precede speech perception. Applied Psycholinguistics, 3, 243261.
Spada, N. (1997). Form-focused instruction and second language acquisition: A review of classroom and laboratory research. Language Teaching, 29, 7387.
Spada, N., & Lightbown, P. (2008). Form-focused instruction: Isolated or integrated? TESOL Quarterly, 42, 181207.
Spada, N., & Tomita, Y. (2010). Interactions between type of instruction and type of language feature: A meta-analysis. Language Learning, 60, 263308.
Swain, M. (2005). The output hypothesis: Theory and research. In Hinkel, E. (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 471484). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Trofimovich, P., & Gatbonton, E. (2006). Repetition and focus on form in L2 Spanish word processing: Implications for pronunciation instruction. Modern Language Journal, 90, 519535.
VanPatten, B. (2004). Input processing and grammar instruction in second language acquisition. Westport, CT: Ablex.
Walley, A. (2007). Speech learning, lexical reorganization, and the development of word recognition by native and non-native English speakers. In Bohn, O. & Munro, M. (Eds.), Language experience in second language speech learning: In honour of James Emil Flege (pp. 315330). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Zhang, Y., Kuhl, P. K., Imada, T., Iverson, P., Pruitt, J., Stevens, E., Kawakatsu, M., Tohkura, Y., & Nemoto, I. (2009). Neural signatures of phonetic learning in adulthood: A magnetoencephalography study. Neuroimage, 46, 226240.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 409 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1114 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.