Can non-interactive language input benefit young second-language learners?

Kit Fong Terry AU, Wai Lan Winnie CHAN, Liao CHENG, Linda S. SIEGEL, Ricky Van Yip TSO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To fully acquire a language, especially its phonology, children need linguistic input from native speakers early on. When interaction with native speakers is not always possible – e.g. for children learning a second language that is not the societal language – audios are commonly used as an affordable substitute. But does such non-interactive input work? Two experiments evaluated the usefulness of audio storybooks in acquiring a more native-like second-language accent. Young children, first- and second-graders in Hong Kong whose native language was Cantonese Chinese, were given take-home listening assignments in a second language, either English or Putonghua Chinese. Accent ratings of the children's story reading revealed measurable benefits of non-interactive input from native speakers. The benefits were far more robust for Putonghua than English. Implications for second-language accent acquisition are discussed. Copyright © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-350
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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Citation

Au, T. K.-F., Chan, W. W., Cheng, L., Siegel, L. S., & Tso, R. V. Y. (2015). Can non-interactive language input benefit young second-language learners? Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 323-350.