Teaching and Learning Pronunciation (Aussprache lehren und lernen, ALL)

Prof. Dr. Steffen Höder (principal investigator)
Dr. Lisa Tulaja (researcher)

The project is funded by the University Board at Kiel University (since January 2019).

The project Teaching and Learning Pronunciation (Aussprache lehren und lernen, ALL) aims to prepare cross-lingual and language-specific aspects of school pronunciation promotion for practical use. For this purpose, guidelines and methods of cognitivistic pronunciation promotion are worked out and developed and prepared for use in foreign language teaching.

Pronunciation has a significant influence on the success of multilingual conversations. Good pronunciation is not only critical to whether or not we are understood by our communication partner, but also determines social parameters. For example, pronunciation can affect whether we are perceived as serious; it can determine whether we get a job; it can even lead to rejection and discrimination. A comprehensible and acceptable pronunciation is therefore a very important aspect of foreign language teaching, but teaching pronunciation can be very difficult.

The human brain learns best when it has to deal actively (by perceiving, recognizing, sorting, etc.) with some subject. Cognitive learning processes are therefore just as important for the acquisition of pronunciation as for the acquisition of grammar or vocabulary. However, unlike grammar or vocabulary, pronunciation in foreign language teaching has so far been mainly imitated in practice. This means that many learners learn pronunciation mainly by imitation. Even though imitation is an important learning strategy, pronunciation should always be taught explicitly – i.e. not just incidentally, but in specially planned sequences – and with cognitivistic strategies.

The ALL project is a follow-up to the earlier project Danish as a Neighbouring Language – Pronunciation Competence in Danish School Teaching (dans), in which basic scientific and didactic content was developed to teach pronunciation in Danish lessons. On this basis, a phonetic toolbox for teachers is being developed, which will be used in teacher training and made available on the website.

Moreover, similar findings and resources are being made available for other foreign languages as well. This is achieved by means of interdisciplinary workshops and seminars, students and lecturers of different foreign languages.