The study builds upon the results of a previous experiment assessing Japanese adolescent's ability to decode pronunciations in an L2 with a much less regular orthography (English) to obtain empirical data that may offer implications for the English-language education of Japanese children. Because English orthography is relatively opaque, learning how to decode it takes more time than for many languages, and instructions are reported to be effective on the development of decoding skills in LI-English children. However, study of Japanese EFL learners is sparse. Here, children (fifth and sixth grades) and adolescents (eighth and ninth grades) read words containing target spellings (<ai>, <au>, <ou>, <u>), heard the pronunciations, and repeated them in training sessions. Decoding automaticity and errors before and after training were measured by naming pseudowords containing the target spellings. Improvements were seen in the adolescents' automaticity, indexed by coefficient of variation of naming latency, and in both groups' error rates. A larger decrease in romaji-based errors after the application of a corrective stimulus suggests that the ability to use one decoding system facilitates the learning of another. While training of this sort seems more effective for adolescents, other strategies may be needed to raise accuracy and automaticity.
We discuss the duration of the breath group between pauses as an English speech unit observed in our developed speech corpus of movies. We used both an automatic pause-detecting system and a manual processing using linguistic information to collect 19,551 breath groups in total. We then analyzed the length of the breath groups in distribution. The result shows that the average duration is 1.9 seconds and 87% of them are within 3.0 seconds, which is considered to be similar to the reported cognitive time constraints for language processing such as the working memory and its supposed phonological loop. Based on the result of our observations into the duration of the breath groups, we suggest teaching methodologies and CALL materials which should enable the novice learners to process English speech and shadow-read the text on a chunk-by-chunk basis, which is within 3 seconds and preferably around 2 seconds in time.
This study describes the overall tendencies shown by Japanese University EFL learners in terms of intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, L2 ideal selves, L2 ought-to selves, international posture, Can-Do and willingness to communicate, and the relationships between these factors. The results show that students tended to exhibit high identified regulation, perceived relatedness, introjected/external regulation, and L2 ideal selves, while being low in amotivation. They also indicate that students' L2 ideal selves were highly correlated with intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, international posture and Can-Do. In examining the degree of internalization of learning, L2 ideal selves showed the strongest correlation with intrinsic motivation and were negatively correlated with amotivation. Cluster analysis was conducted to gain a greater understanding of individual differences, enabling a division into four groups. To support the quantitative analysis, qualitative data was gathered, allowing the examination of differences among students pertaining to how they perceived the relationship between L2 ideal selves and language learning, and the relative strength of the L2 ideal self in language learning behavior.
Discourse markers (DMs) are words and phrases used by speakers or writers to make their message more comprehensible to others and to organise the discourse structure. Particularly in speech communication, non-native speakers can use DMs as a strategic device to continue a conversation with their limited English language proficiency. However, despite the importance of DMs in spoken English, research examining the relationship between input and output of DMs is limited. To rectify this, the present study focuses on the presentation of DMs in Japanese EFL textbooks for junior high and high school students and explores how textbooks, as primary input data, play a role in Japanese EFL learners' speech. The statistical analyses of the presentation of DMs in 25 textbooks showed that the kind and number of items varied according to the targeted grades. Additionally, a comparative analysis with the textbooks and learner corpus data revealed that learners preferred high frequency items in the textbooks. Therefore, the results indicate that textbooks have an important effect on learners' acquisition of DMs.
In the field of language learning, a number of studies have revealed the positive effects of implementing collaborative learning in L2 writing classrooms. However, an in-depth analysis of the collaborative writing process has rarely been researched in English as a foreign language (EFL) settings. The current study investigates the nature of Japanese EFL learners' collaborative writing using three staged tasks of (1) writing, (2) reviewing, and (3) revising. Six pairs of 12 learners were asked to collaboratively (1) describe the four-frame picture discussing what to write, (2) review their own text discussing what they noticed by comparing it with the model text, and (3) revise their text. The students' verbal protocol was analyzed using the Grounded Theory Approach, and the participants' collaborative writing behavior was grouped into several categories such as organizing a text, problem-solving, interpreting a model text, referring to a model text, and revising. The result further reveals that both the learners' problem-solving in the writing stage and their references to the model text were categorized into three sub-categories: lexis, form, and content. The results suggest that the learners can solve more lexical problems by themselves than problems in form (e.g., grammar).
The purpose of this paper is two-fold. One is to investigate how many courses on pronunciation teaching are taught in teacher's license course in order to be an English teacher in junior or high school in Japan. Two is to examine how many of these courses treat pronunciation teaching. To teach pronunciation properly with confidence, teachers should acquire three elements of pronunciation teaching, i.e., knowledge on phonetics, pronunciation ability, and skills on teaching pronunciation. The data were gathered examining the courses and their syllabi. The findings show that 40% of the courses do not offer the pre-service teachers any opportunities to acquire knowledge, ability, or teaching skills on pronunciation. Moreover, further investigation of the syllabi that do provide pronunciation-related topics shows that the courses that focus on the teaching skills are very limited. This can be one of the reasons why English teachers do not have much confidence in teaching pronunciation. As far as pronunciation is concerned, some changes are necessary in teacher's license courses, that is, to focus on the three elements of pronunciation teaching.
The objective of this study is to improve communicative English skills of Japanese high school EFL learners utilizing computer-assisted learning materials. In order to survey the effects of long-term instruction, a whole-year experimental teaching was conducted with a group of high school students over the course of a year. During the experiment, the participants learned English in a CALL room after school as their club activities in addition to regular classes-primarily with computer-assisted learning material for listening English based on the Three-step Auditory Comprehension Approach. For the purpose of evaluating its effectiveness, the scores of GTEC for STUDENTS before and after the additional instruction were compared. Significant differences were observed between the rise of the average scores of the students who attended the instruction and those who did not. Although the study was not conducted under laboratory conditions, it can be considered that learners' communicative skills can be successfully improved by providing appropriate materials in an effective way.