To What Extent Does Musical Aptitude Influence Foreign Language Pronunciation Skills? A Multi-Factorial Analysis of Japanese Learners of English

Matthew Dolman, Ryan Spring


This study looks at the influence of musical aptitude on learners’ pronunciation abilities in a foreign language. Whilethere have been many studies that have claimed a link between the two (Slevc & Miyake 2006, Milovanov 2010,etc.), some studies suggest that this link may not be as strong as initially thought (Jackendoff, 2009, etc.). This studyexamines the pronunciation abilities of Japanese University students of similar English level and varying musicalaptitude, but conducts more in depth statistical analysis than previous studies by comparing specific musical abilities,such as pitch, loudness, rhythm, tone and timing, with specific problematic pronunciation points, the English sounds/r/, /l/, /v/, [θ] and [ð]. The results of our experimentation indicated a statistically significant correlation betweenmusical timing aptitude and the ability to pronounce r and l sounds, but no other significant correlations, indicatingthat perhaps only specific musical abilities have influence on specific aspects of pronunciation.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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