Assessing Variability in Pronunciation Development: Case Studies From a Complexity Perspective

  • Shannon R. Becker (Northern Illinois University)
  • Jessica L. Sturm (Purdue University)


Learning one’s target language in a foreign language environment presents particular challenges for both the amount of L2 input and the opportunity to practice. When one considers additionally how little time is dedicated to pronunciation in the typical foreign language classroom (Olson, 2014), it seems inevitable that pronunciation would lag behind other skills in this instructional context. To address this skills gap, the instruction and assessment of pronunciation need to be prioritized in research and practice. In this paper we revisit the results of a longitudinal study following four L1 English learners of L2 French, designed to explore how the limited L2 exposure and pronunciation instruction of a foreign-language environment may impact pronunciation development. The results are reframed here as evidence of the adaptation and change that are characteristic of a developing complex dynamic system, leading to a discussion of alternative ways to present and analyze pronunciation data that consider the inherent variability and non-linearity of linguistic behavior.

How to Cite: Becker, S. & Sturm, J. (2022). Assessing variability in pronunciation development: case studies from a complexity perspective. In J. Levis & A. Guskaroska (eds.), Proceedings of the 12th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference, held June 2021 virtually at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

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Published on
18 Sep 2022
Peer Reviewed