Phonemic Awareness at 3 Linked to Reading Years Later

This article from June 2023 provides new insights into the link between phonological skills and reading ability in young children. The evidence comes from a sample of Chinese kindergarten children linking early phoneme awareness (3 and 4-year-olds) and their reading acquisition years later in Chinese kindergarten. Of course, I have been arguing for years that … Read more

Some Quotes

Words emboldened by me… The first one hits home. I have been preaching the importance of phonemic awareness for almost two decades.   …there seems to be a lack of transfer of knowledge from research into L2 speech acquisition, particularly in the area of pronunciation, and teaching pedagogy. The fact that most L2 speech research … Read more

A Study with Japanese Elementary School Students

A Cross-sectional Cohort Study of Elementary School Foreign Language Learners appeared in the June 2022 issue of The Journal of Asia TEFL The article points to the need for explicit phoneme instruction and reports on a study of Japanese elementary school students. At the outset, it states In order to prepare students for the reading-based, test-focused … Read more

An Important Article On Phonemic Acquisition

Since the 1990s and the pioneering work on training Japanese speakers to distinguish the English /r/ and /l/, high-variability phonetic training (HVPT) has been established as an effective technique to improve learner’s perception. Like almost everything, this is a complicated claim. There seem to be counter-indications. The Role of Talker Variability in Nonnative Phonetic Learning: A Systematic … Read more

The Importance of Multiple Voices

Learners are helped by hearing multiple voices. The importance of input variability has been examined in numerous fields including visual perception, computational modeling, first-language acquisition, and second or foreign-language acquisition. A general observation is that more variable input produces better learning and generalization outcomes. By experiencing diverse input, learners develop resilience and adaptability to different … Read more

Don’t Do As the Natives Do

Don’t Do As the Natives Do! I recently came across an English preschool that proudly announced it taught phonics as they do in Australia. That might not be such a good idea. Phonics is connecting sounds to letters. Australian children, and all native English speakers, can discriminate the sounds of English. They can hear all … Read more

The Importance of Early Exposure to English

…a course was recently developed, consisting of playing English-language cassettes to infants from birth to the age of six months. When, at the age of three, four or five years, these children come into contact with an English teacher, they learn the foreign language much more easily than other children.              ―Dr. Silvana Montanaro, MD, … Read more

How Important is Phonemic Awareness to Foreign Language Learning?

The title of this piece is a simple question. The answer is: very important. Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to recognize and manipulate the individual sounds (phonemes) of a language. Here’s why phonemic awareness is crucial in foreign language learning: Listening Comprehension: Foreign language learners need to be able to recognize and distinguish between … Read more

The Importance of Speech Perception in Native and Foreign Language Learning

Speech perception and the ability to discriminate different sounds (phonemes) have been found to be related to better speech comprehension and reading abilities among native speakers. Numerous studies have shown that people with native language learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, demonstrate low native speech perception abilities. To help them overcome these problems, they are trained … Read more

The Importance of Speech Perception in Foreign Language Learning

  The Importance of Speech Perception in Foreign Language Learning Speech perception has been found to be related to better speech comprehension, pronunciation, and reading abilities. Learning a foreign language first requires the brain’s adaptation to that language’s new set of sounds (phonemes). This task entails the ability to discriminate foreign speech elements absent in … Read more

I asked Chatgpt …

I asked chatgpt to write about the importance of phonemic awareness in a foreign language setting. This is what it said. I have said the same things in this blog but was happy for the confirmation. Phonemic awareness is an important aspect of language learning for foreign language learners. It refers to the ability to … Read more

The Best Technique for Phonemic Training

Children create a sound map of their native language before they learn to speak. This native phonology makes it difficult to hear the sounds of a non-native language. This is not to say that children cannot learn L2 sounds. On the contrary, children can learn the sounds of a foreign language, but they need to … Read more

A couple of articles I read recently

A couple of articles I read recently: Linking behavioral and neurophysiological indicators of perceptual tuning to language By:  Fava, Hull, and  Bortfeld In: Frontiers of Psychology Aug 2011 This article is about the neural mechanisms that underlie early language learning. The authors look at the research on monolingual infants, early bilinguals, and late bilinguals. They … Read more

Phonemic Awareness and the Alphabetic Principle

Phonemic awareness is the ability to consciously think about and analyze the sounds of one’s language. It is without a doubt one of the strongest and most well-established predictors of successful reading (e.g., Lundberg, Olofsson, & Wall, 1980). Children with strong phonemic awareness skills have been found to be superior readers compared to their peers … Read more

An Amazing Study of the Bilingual Advantage

Most English teachers know of the cognitive gains associated with bilingualism.  We love to tell our students about them. But, do you know when these improvements start to show, and what that implies? At least some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism are attributed to a bilingual’s need to inhibit one language while using the … Read more

A Blast from the Past

  It has been almost 10 years since I published this article on Phoneme Acquisition. I thought I’d give it a second run. Title: It Starts with Phonemes Published in JALT Proceedings in 2013 http://aka-kara.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/It-Starts-with-Phonemes.pdf
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