Testing visual pitch feedback for L2 acquisition of Italian question prosody

Date: October 27, 2023

Time: 11:00

Location: SH 4430C/PC Zoom Room

Speakers: Catherine Scanlon & Antón de la Fuente

Although prosody varies greatly among languages, it is rarely emphasized in second language teaching. This study tests a method aimed at helping learners of Italian acquire Italian question prosody. Building on previous work showing promise for visual feedback as an aid to L2 prosody acquisition (De Bot 1983, Hardison 2004), we developed and tested an online training program that shows pitch contours to the learners to help them compare their productions with those of a native speaker. We tested the system with speakers of American English (N=102) taking a university Italian class. Ultimately, although students demonstrated learning over the course of the training, there was no difference between those who saw the pitch contours and those who completed the training with audio only. In this talk, I will resent the findings in more detail and discuss possible reasons for the difference between our results and those of previous studies.