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Teaching L2 Spanish Stress


  • Anita K. Saalfeld


The present study investigated the effects of training on the perception of Spanish stress, an important feature in the Spanish verbal morphology system. Participants were two intact classes of native English speakers enrolled in a six-week session of second-semester Spanish, as well as native English and native Spanish control groups. During the instructional period, one class received short lessons and practice activities designed to improve their perception and production of Spanish stress; the other class received no specific instruction on Spanish stress and did not engage in any practice activities. Statistical tests revealed that both groups demonstrated significant improvement between pretest and posttest, but there were no differences between groups in terms of accuracy of response. While the evidence is inconclusive, it is possible that the lack of distracter items in the pretest promoted learner noticing or awareness, which was sufficient for both groups to improve in second language phonology.