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Motivation, Pronunciation, and Instruction in the Hungarian Classroom: A longitudinal study

Kim, Sally J (2013) Motivation, Pronunciation, and Instruction in the Hungarian Classroom: A longitudinal study. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Dörnyei and Ottó’s (1998) Process Model emphasizes the role of both internal and external influences – e.g., the need to accomplish goals, quality of instructor feedback, and rapport with classmates – on L2 learner motivation and decision-making. In a similar vein, McKay and Wong (1996) claim that investment, i.e., commitment to studying a language driven by learner-specific needs and potential gains (e.g., by discourses of power and identity), is decisive in L2 learner achievement. Guided by these frameworks, the present study examines motivation and behavior in a four-person cohort studying introductory Hungarian, a low-demand foreign language, at a U.S. university. It also tracks pronunciation accuracy, a little-studied aspect of language learning that is also affected by investment as well as by aptitude (Purcell & Suter, 1980).
Using surveys, interviews, and audio recordings of class sessions, this year-long qualitative study sought to discover the reasons for which the students decided to study Hungarian, their perceptions of their own and others’ performance during the year of study, and their evaluations of the instructor’s approach. Each student’s investment in and success at achieving good pronunciation was rated using the audio recordings. To bolster reliability, these ratings were supplemented by end-of-semester evaluative comments from the instructor. Of particular interest was the final oral examination, during which the instructor used the rubric of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview. To determine whether aptitude, which is not often paired with motivation as a predictor of success, was a stronger predictor of pronunciation accuracy, Parts 4-6 of the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB), which test for the ability to perform grammatical analysis, discriminate novel phonemes, and map sounds to symbols, respectively, were administered to participants.
As the Process Model predicts, each participant’s motivation was dynamic and driven by many factors. In some cases, differing perceptions of the same circumstances led to drastically different decisions regarding further study of Hungarian. The methods and materials of instruction had surprisingly prominent negative effects on investment. These results call into question whether a pedagogical approach that lacks explicit instruction on phonetic form is effective at spurring either achievement of or investment in good pronunciation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kim, Sally Jsjk70@pitt.eduSJK70
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberMauk, Claude Ecemauk@pitt.eduCEMAUK
Committee MemberMcCormick, Dawn Emccormic@pitt.eduMCCORMIC
Committee ChairShirai,
Date: 18 January 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 October 2012
Approval Date: 18 January 2013
Submission Date: 6 December 2012
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 81
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hungarian, linguistics, Process Model, pronunciation, motivation
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2013 17:12
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2018 06:15


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