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J Child Lang. 2015 Mar;42(2):323-50. doi: 10.1017/S0305000913000627. Epub 2014 Apr 7.

Can non-interactive language input benefit young second-language learners?

Author information

1
University of Hong Kong.
2
The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
3
Harvard University.
4
University of British Columbia.

Abstract

To fully acquire a language, especially its phonology, children need linguistic input from native speakers early on. When interaction with native speakers is not always possible - e.g. for children learning a second language that is not the societal language - audios are commonly used as an affordable substitute. But does such non-interactive input work? Two experiments evaluated the usefulness of audio storybooks in acquiring a more native-like second-language accent. Young children, first- and second-graders in Hong Kong whose native language was Cantonese Chinese, were given take-home listening assignments in a second language, either English or Putonghua Chinese. Accent ratings of the children's story reading revealed measurable benefits of non-interactive input from native speakers. The benefits were far more robust for Putonghua than English. Implications for second-language accent acquisition are discussed.

PMID:
24703202
DOI:
10.1017/S0305000913000627
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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