TESOL versus SLP Techniques for the Development of L2 English Pronunciation


Yingya Li

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Amanda Brown

Second Advisor

Mary L. Edwards


English pronunciation, Practitioners' attitudes, Speech-language pathology, TESOL, Training techniques

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


This study investigated the techniques used in Teaching English of Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Speech-language Pathology (SLP) fields for the development of English pronunciation. First, a four-week, one-on-one training (one hour twice a week) for three Chinese learners of English as a second language (ESL) was conducted, employing the application of minimal pairs within different approaches - TESOL and SLP - to examine their effectiveness on the accuracy of sound production. All together five sounds were targeted (i.e., the velar nasal /eta/, the voiceless interdental fricative /theta/, the voiced labiodental fricative /v/, the voiced labial-velar approximate /w/ and the voiced alveolar liquid /l/). Second, a semi-structured interview was conducted to explore the applications of pronunciation teaching techniques and methods by professionals in each field. A number of areas were explored: practitioners' understanding of pronunciation/speech sound development, their preparedness for pronunciation teaching, and their attitudes towards practitioners in the other field. Our findings from the first study suggested that when the technique of minimal pairs was applied within a segment-focused SLP approach, ESL participants were able to achieve higher accuracy in speech of shorter units such as passive task (i.e., tasks with scripts). In contrast, when minimal pairs were incorporated implicitly within a communicative, goal-orientated TESOL approach, ESL speakers were able to achieve better performance in active spontaneous productions (i.e., tasks without scripts). The second study showed that the TESOL professionals interviewed believed that intelligibility was more important than accuracy; while the SLP professionals maintained the incredible importance of accurate pronunciation. Finally, overall, SLP participants expressed stronger confidence in their readiness to teach both L1 and L2 English pronunciation than did TESOL professionals.


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