Elementary and middle school second language learning program models and pronunciation achievement
Ploger, Monica Elaine
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There is increased interest in adding second language programming before high school, including Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES) and dual language (DL) programs. Research shows many benefits of learning a second language in elementary and middle school programs, such as allowing more time to develop fluency and fostering positive attitudes toward cultural diversity prior to the crucial age of 10 (Curtain & Pesola, 1994). However, no one has compared these program types based upon phonology, which is easier to learn before puberty. While prior literature provides studies of the target Spanish sounds, including vowels and the trilled /r/, and how they are produced by native speakers and by L2 learners, there have not been studies comparing how native-like the students' pronunciation is as a result of the programs available in primary and middle schools. This study investigates whether English speaking students in an 80:20 DL program, a FLES program or a middle school beginning sequential program better achieve native-like pronunciation of consonants, vowels and the trilled /r/ in Spanish; if there are common errors and if the error patterns are different between the groups.