Mandarin L1 speakers’ difficulty with phonetic perception in English as an L2

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Engelska

Abstract: The study focuses on three research questions. The first question addresses whether it is possible to improve phonetic perception in English as an L2 for Chinese primary school children speaking Mandarin as an L1, through the didactic methods High Variability Phonetic Training and Onset Rhyme Detection Test. The second question addresses if it is possible to improve phonetic perception over a short period of time, using didactic methods focused on improving phonetic perception during two sessions for each method. The third and last question addresses, if it is one of the two didactic methods, High Variability Phonetic Training and Onset Rhyme Detection Test, is better than the other in a short-term learning situation. Forty-five students participated in the study, divided into three groups; one was a control group. Two groups received treatment, one with the Onset Rhyme Detection Test and the other High Variability Phonetic Training method. All groups conducted a pretest and posttest. The results revealed that the two methods used had some positive effect on the development of phonetic perception for Chinese primary school children. Through didactic methods, it is possible to improve phonetic perception to some extent, even during a short period of time. 

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