I'd never done graduate research until last year. I started at Trinity in Dublin last year this time and I'm back and happier this year.
One thing I had always wanted to learn was research. It all seemed so ephemeral how this is good and valid and that is shoddy and not empirically grounded... We did a little bit this past year but choosing good writing was part of the process of it. Doing the literature review is a major part of getting started in the research.
Access to all the world's research is amazing and throws up some nice stuff though there is a lot of "brilliantly and specifically useless."
While going through some papers for my dissertation project on technology and pronunciation, I found what should be a priority piece of reading for all of us. This is from the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. Jennifer Jenkins is covering the pronunciation angle. She does so expertly and I can't think of her as popular fluff after reading it. Granted she blows her own horn but she deserves it. Here's a massive quote that as teachers you must appreciate.
"Based on research into pronunciation attitudes, both that of other scholars (see below on sociopsychological issues) and her own EIL research, Jenkins (2000, pp. 209–210) proposes five stages of pronunciation learning:
- • Addition of core [i.e., Lingua Franca Core] items to the learner’s productive and receptive repertoire
- • Addition of a range of L2 English accents to the learner’s receptive repertoire
- • Addition of accommodation skills
- • Addition of non-core items to the learner’s receptive repertoire
- • Addition of a range of L1 English accents to the learner’s receptive repertoire
Learners who have elected to acquire an accent that enables them both to preserve their L1 identity in their L2 English and to be (pronunciation-wise) intelligible to other NNSs will probably aim for the first three stages. However, they may also wish to be able to understand the pronunciation of NSs, certain features of whose speech can, without prior familiarizing, present particular difficulties for NNS listeners (Bent & Bradlow, 2003). In this case, they will probably aim for all five stages. The critical point, though, is that there is no suggestion of losing their L1 repertoire and, by definition, their L1 identity. This change in emphasis has already filtered through to pronunciation materials, which are tending to incorporate a greater degree of learner choice of target than hitherto, and to move away from nativelike targets for learners whose goal is international intelligibility."It's like she's writing for us. Good, isn't she? Here she is again in case you missed the link above: