2015 Volume 26 Pages 1-12
Recently, English rhythmic perception and production have been recognized as useful for native-like pronunciation, but how can learners achieve them? The first objective of this study is to clarify whether musical aptitude, in particular, tonal/rhythmic perception and rhythmic short-term memory (STM), are related to Japanese children’s receptive/productive prosodic abilities in English. The second objective is to determine whether musically trained children have a higher musical aptitude than untrained children. In the study, 53 children attending a private elementary school were individually given tests on productive rhythmic STM and productive English prosody. They were also given tests on receptive musical aptitude and receptive English prosody in class. The results of multiple regression analysis showed that either musical perception or productive rhythmic STM significantly explained English prosodic perception/production, e.g., focus, chunking, and intonation. It was also observed that musically trained children were statistically better in tonal/rhythmic perception. Though further evidence is required, these results indicate that early musical training could help improve English prosodic ability.