The Effect of the Katakana Writing System on Second Language Pronunciation : A Suggestion for Katakana Sound Instruction in English TextbooksThe Effect of the Katakana Writing System on Second Language Pronunciation : A Suggestion for Katakana Sound Instruction in English TextbooksAN00382629
The ultimate aim of this study is to consider whether katakana-based pronunciation of wasei eigo debases Japanese EFL learners’ pronunciation of English. Advanced and non-advanced Japanese EFL learners who do not have prior knowledge of phonetics participated in a series of auditory English speaking experiments that investigated whether voiced velar nasal /ŋ/ was correctly pronounced even when they visually perceived katakana. The significant finding of this study was that non-advanced EFL learners correctly produced the target sound when they visually perceived Japanese semantic words including the velar nasal that is often replaced with wasei eigo (i.e., 指輪 “yubiwa” which means ring is often replaced with the wasei eigo リング “ringu”). However, non-advanced learners’ pronunciation of /ŋ/ worsened and an unnecessary /g/ was added when they visually perceived simple katakana-based wasei eigo (i.e., スピーキング “supiikingu” which means speaking is katakana-based wasei eigo that is widely used in place of the Japanese word 話す “hanasu”). The result implies that the pronunciation of /ŋ/ which does not have L1 phonological contrast worsens when non-advanced learner perceive katakana because they rely heavily on the katakana sound system when they study L2 pronunciation. Thus, it is possible to postulate that katakana-based pronunciation guides should be used with caution in second language teaching situations.