Target Attainment in the Production of English Vowels by Polish Students: The Influence of Language Instruction in the Time of Covid-19, Imitation, and Musicality

Keywords: pronunciation assessment, English vowels, imitation, musicality


This pilot experimental study pursues a number of goals. Firstly, it aims to assess the phonetic attainment of selected English vowels among twelve Polish students of English philology after one term of intensive online pronunciation training in pandemic conditions. Secondly, it looks at potential differences between production outcomes in two experimental contexts, that is, reading and imitation. Finally, it seeks to determine if there is any correlation between musicality and target attainment with a view to identifying a broader scope for potential future research questions. For this purpose, recorded samples of read and imitated English words containing vowels in a uniform context /h_d/ were assessed by six raters using a 5-point Likert scale. The results, including those of an online musicality test, were analysed and subjected to statistical testing. The majority of total scores exceed the assumed acceptability benchmark of 50%. The study yielded a number of unexpected results. Firstly, female participants performed significantly better than male ones in the reading experiment, but not in imitation. Secondly, a stronger correlation was found between the reading results and musicality than between imitation results and musicality.


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