From Theory to Practice- Selected papers from the 2013 ICLHE Conference
EMI and pronunciation – Outline of a longitudinal case study
Abstract An increasing number of institutions of higher education all over the world are now offering programmes taught wholly or partly in English. This approach is widely believed to significantly improve students’ content knowledge as well as their foreign language competence. With this context in mind, this study addresses the question of whether and how English-medium teaching affects the students’ pronunciation skills. This paper outlines a longitudinal research project that is currently being carried out at a University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, where a bilingual (German/English) undergraduate degree programme is offered in which up to 50% of the classes are held in English. With the majority of the lecturers being native speakers of English, the question arises as to whether and to what extent the high quality and quantity of input translates into a reduced foreign accent. A group of students from the bilingual and a control group from the German programme are recorded twice – once at the beginning (2011) and once at the end of their studies (2014). These recordings are then rated by a number of experienced pronunciation teachers. A diachronic and synchronic analysis of the scores obtained is envisaged to shed light on the question of how and to what extent the students’ pronunciation skills develop over time. Preliminary findings suggest that at the beginning of the study the focus group already outperforms the control group. In addition, it has been found that the students from the bilingual programme are more inclined to spend...
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