Pronunciation and Rhythm of Japanese as a Second Language
Pronunciation and rhythm are particularly important aspects of acquiring a new language, even if language teaching often fails to acknowledge this. In this book I examine key issues concerning pronunciation and rhythm of foreign languages through the phonological acquisition of Japanese, based on my many years of experience and insight as a Japanese language teacher and phonologist at an Australian university. My empirical study discussed here uses errors found in the speech of English speaking learners of Japanese to illustrate phonetic and prosodic characteristics of second language pronunciation. Results of this study demonstrate the learning path of second language acquisition through pronunciation. Guided by these findings, I introduce points that I believe will be useful for the mastery of second language pronunciation, as well as teaching methods and materials for this purpose. The phonological acquisition of second language is a complex field where individual experience--and opinion--range widely, as this book's discussion of the field demonstrates. Indeed, some of the many unsolved puzzles in this field have potential to deepen understanding of phonological acquisition in first language as well as second language. This book is therefore useful not only for teachers and researchers of Japanese language but also for those who are interested in pronunciation in general and pronunciation of foreign languages in particular. As this book underscores, pronunciation and rhythm are clearly instrumental in acquiring any new language, no matter how many languages a learner has already acquired.