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Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education

Perspectives on Professional Practice

Edited By Jennifer Valcke and Robert Wilkinson

This book offers a collection of original papers showing how Higher education institutions have coped with changing the language of instruction. It points out that Higher education institutions have undergone radical change in the past decades; of which the shift to English-medium instruction, as well as bi- or plurilingual programmes, is one notable example. The papers comprise new research on teaching and learning through an additional language, and its impact on professional development for university teachers, programme and course development, as well as quality assurance. The articles span different international contexts, and provide education developers, university teachers, educational administrators, language experts, and others, with global perspectives on the professional practices of university teachers.

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Researching tertiary EMI and pronunciation. A case study from Vienna (Karin Richter)

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Karin RichterUniversity of Vienna, Austria

Researching tertiary EMI and pronunciation. A case study from Vienna

Abstract: This paper addresses the question of how English-Medium Instruction (EMI) in higher education can affect adult learners’ pronunciation skills. The longitudinal case study presented here was conducted at FHWien of WKW, a university of applied sciences in Austria, where one of five cohorts of the BA degree programme Entrepreneurship is offered in a bilingual (German/English) form. In this programme up to 50 % of the content classes are held in English, mostly by L1 speakers of the language. To investigate potential implications of this increased exposure to L1 English, a focus group of students from the bilingual and a control group from the German programme were recorded twice, once at the beginning of their studies (in 2011) and then again at the end (in 2014). These sound files were subsequently rated by experienced pronunciation specialists. A close analysis of the scores obtained revealed that the focus group distinctly outperformed the control group both from a cross-sectional as well as a longitudinal perspective. However, when exploring variables that are frequently considered influential in pronunciation learning, ‘exposure to the L1’ could not be identified as the single most crucial driving force for the changes observed. Rather, a number of inter-connected factors could be attributed to the development of the learners.

Keywords: Higher education; EMI; pronunciation; exposure; incidental learning

1. Introduction

The current trend towards teaching curricular...

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