The Multi-Sensory Training Benefit in Second Language Acquisition
Keywords:second language acquisition, phonetics, cross-modal speech perception, multi-sensory training benefit
This article examines the role of multi-sensory input in the acquisition of non-native phonemes. First, it demonstrates that speech perception is not only auditory and that multi-sensory input such as audiovisual recordings of speech and tactile input from speech production aid the acquisition and comprehension of speech in one’s native language. Then, it examines studies that investigate the effectiveness of multimodal training compared to unimodal training when it comes to the identification of non-native phonemes. Based on the evidence presented, I argue that multi-sensory training aids the acquisition of non-native phonemes in some cases. However, when the additional modality provides no additional information, there seems to be no training benefit. There might be further limitations on the multi-sensory training benefit, such as whether it differs across native languages and can occur with other modalities than the audiovisual, but further research is needed to say anything conclusively in this area.
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