Longitudinal study of Spanish vowel acquisition by Australian students

Publication Name

Language Teaching Research


A growing body of research, especially on second language (L2) English, has shown the positive effects of explicit pronunciation teaching. However, some beliefs which prevent explicit pronunciation teaching still remain, notably, the belief that regular speaking during class time is enough to improve pronunciation outcomes. This article analyses the evolution of L2 Spanish vowels in four students at an Australian university. An analysis of 1,387 vowels from the first, third and sixth semesters of a Spanish major with no particular focus on explicit pronunciation teaching shows minimal change in the quality of the students’ vowels, indicating very little improvement in pronunciation across their six-semester language major. The results suggest that speaking during class is not enough to improve L2 Spanish pronunciation and support explicit pronunciation teaching in the language classroom.

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