Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Thesis successfully submitted to the Dublin Institute of Technology for the award of Doctor of Philosophy in August, 2006.

Abstract

This project is concerned with the design of English as a Second Language (ESL) courseware for Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). It arises out of the Enterprise Ireland funded DITCALL (Digital Interactive Toolkit for Computer Assisted Language learning) project. The focus of the research for this courseware is on using authentic video and audio material that is as natural and true to life as possible and providing adequate, pedagogically efficient and visually pleasing lesson material that will prepare prospective students for the environment in Dublin. The thesis centres around the validity of using authentic spoken Native Speaker (NS) English, and investigates how learners of English can be facilitated in improving their listening and language processing skills when practicing with authentic material. A novel approach to making in particular spoken authentic material available to the language learner by way of a digital slow-down tool, which slows down speech without distortion, is presented in this thesis. Testing carried out for the present study furthermore indicates that the use of the patented DITCALL digital slow-down tool enhances word recognition in rapid speech and make authentic NS speech accessible to all levels of learner, enhances and improves performance in, especially, listening skills and, it is felt, also facilitates the student’s ability to process spoken Native Speaker (NS) English. This thesis also explores the NS’s preferred listening and speaking styles and the importance of cultural background information for language learners, looking in particulatr at the issue of acculturation. This study attempts to pinpoint which skill improvement strategies are most beneficial for Non-native Speakers (NNSs), and which will facilitate their acceptance in the target language speech community.

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