The Effect of Explicit Training on the Prosodic Production of L2 Sarcasm by Dutch Learners of English
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Previous research implied that Dutch learners of English are not able to accurately use prosody to convey sarcasm in English. The present study tested whether explicit instruction on the prosodic markers of sarcasm in English improved student’s sarcastic sounding. English sarcastic speech was elicited from Dutch participants in two sessions. Between the two sessions, participants were trained in English sarcasm by (1) a presentation on the prosodic markers of sarcasm in English, (2) independent practice guided by audio and visual feedback on both target and own production and (3) an individual feedback session with the experimenters held in small groups. The degree of sarcasm in the recordings from the pre-test and post-test were evaluated by L1 British English-speaking raters on a five-point scale. Results showed a significant main effect of training, a significant main effect of sentence type as well as a significant interaction between the two. The findings imply that prosody training can have an effect on L2 learner’s prosodic ability in the L2. In addition, some sentence types received higher average scores than others. Future research might explain the cause for the difference found between sentence types.