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Appears in:
Pages: 5713-5722
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain

ON THE RELATIONSHIP OF PROSODY AND MUSICAL APTITUDE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: RESULTS OF AN EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH PROJECT

L. Vangehuchten1, V. Verhoeven1, P. Thys2

1University of Antwerp (BELGIUM)
2Royal Academy of Music, Artesis College (BELGIUM)
Although recent research in Second Language Acquisition defends the hypothesis of the existence of a correlation between musical aptitude and pronunciation proficiency, studies on this topic are scarce. More experimental research is needed in order to disentangle the complex relationship between musical aptitude and pronunciation proficiency in a foreign language. This paper presents the results of a research project that aims to examine this issue by conducting experiments with 29 university students of Spanish. The project is conducted by staff of the University of Antwerp and Royal Conservatory of Music Artesis. The 29 subjects were asked to take a test in Spanish pronunciation and prosody as well as in musicality. In order to become a homogeneous population and exclude outliers, the subjects first completed a questionnaire on their linguistic background. Then they took the pronunciation and prosody test, that consisted in 2 parts. The first part was a receptive test, which consisted in a phonemic discrimination test, focusing on both stress and phonemes. The second part was a productive test, wherein they had to repeat words and sentences chosen for their prosodic characteristics. The musical aptitude test also consisted of a receptive part on musicality in general, such as feeling for pitch, rhythm, length, loudness, musical memory, and rhythmic accents (the Seashore test, 1967), as well as a productive part, which included the reproduction of tones, tone intervals, rhythms and the singing of a melody. The recordings of both the linguistic and the musicality tests were judged by independent qualified raters (a native speaker and teacher of Spanish as a foreign language and a professional musician and music teacher). The statistical analysis with Pearson’s correlation-coefficients revealed a positive, although not for all aspects, correlation between the musical and foreign language pronunciation proficiency aptitudes. Differences between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ subjects were statistically measured by analysis of variance (ANOVA), corrected with the relevant confounders. Corroboration of the initial hypothesis on a positive correlation between receptive and/or productive aspects of musical aptitude and receptive and/or productive aspects of foreign language pronunciation proficiency, offers obvious perspectives for scientifically founded pronunciation training in Foreign Language Learning on the basis of musicological insights and pedagogical techniques (Richards 2008). The evidence of a “natural” talent for pronunciation proficiency in a foreign language within subjects with a proven talent for musical aptitude, implies a huge potential for foreign language pronunciation proficiency training. The conclusions will also discuss how this potential will be empirically explored, since it is the ultimate goal of the research project to use the results as a basis for a training programme on musical aptitude that will focus on those aspects that have proven to be problematic to some of the subjects.

References:
Richards, J.C. (2008). Teaching Listening and Speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Seashore, C.E. (1967). Psychology of Music, Dover Publications, Inc. New York.
@InProceedings{VANGEHUCHTEN2013ONR,
author = {Vangehuchten, L. and Verhoeven, V. and Thys, P.},
title = {ON THE RELATIONSHIP OF PROSODY AND MUSICAL APTITUDE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: RESULTS OF AN EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH PROJECT},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {5713-5722}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Vangehuchten AU - V. Verhoeven AU - P. Thys
TI - ON THE RELATIONSHIP OF PROSODY AND MUSICAL APTITUDE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: RESULTS OF AN EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH PROJECT
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 5713
EP - 5722
ER -
L. Vangehuchten, V. Verhoeven, P. Thys (2013) ON THE RELATIONSHIP OF PROSODY AND MUSICAL APTITUDE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: RESULTS OF AN EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH PROJECT, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 5713-5722.
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