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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Language
Sodium Glutamate
language
Population Groups
phonology
language acquisition
English language
Hong Kong
rating
Linguistics
Second Language Learners
linguistics
Reading
experiment
Learning
interaction
learning
Native Speaker
Accent
Putonghua

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.