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The use of Twitter and Youglish for the learning and retention of commonly mispronounced English words

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Abstract

Although there is an increasing interest in educational microblogging and findings regarding its effectiveness on the language learning, relevant research, especially on the use of microblogging for the learning of pronunciation, is rather limited. This issue becomes even more apparent in countries like Turkey where English is taught as a foreign language and there is considerable number of words commonly mispronounced by Turkish language learners including pre-service language teachers. The present paper reports on the findings of a study into the effects of the social networking site Twitter and Youglish on the learning and retention of commonly mispronounced words. Twitter, a microblogging tool, was used for explicit instruction and input enhancement for the words by capitalizing of stressed syllables, providing links to authentic talks, stressing the problematic features of the target words, and showing other pronunciation-related familiar words. Youglish was used to utilize the tenets of extensive listening and input enhancement. Tweets aimed at drawing direct attention to the pronunciation of each word. In each tweet, a link to Youglish was provided as an attempt to foster pronunciation learning in context. Additionally, this study examines the attitudes towards pronunciation and views on the use of Twitter and Youglish for pronunciation instruction. Following an experimental group only design (pre, post, and retention tests), the study was conducted with 93 pre-service teachers studying at the English Language Teacher Education (ELTE) program of a large-scale university in Turkey. The data were gathered via a Pronunciation Attitude Inventory, a pronunciation test, and an open-ended survey. Seventy target words were determined after a four-week observation and note taking of commonly mispronounced words by teacher trainers and these target words were sent in 70 tweets, one word in each tweet. The tweets for each word included a link to Youglish, a Youtube-based pronunciation dictionary. Descriptive statistics and ANOVA tests were run for the analysis of the quantitative data and content analysis for the open-ended survey. The results indicated that the use of Twitter and Youglish together to teach pronunciation served an important role in learning and retaining commonly mispronounced words. The views of the pre-service teachers support the findings that they benefitted from the adopted approach. Findings from this study have strengthened the evidence supporting the impact of Twitter (supported by Youglish) for pronunciation instruction. The study also offers implications for leaners, teachers, and policy makers.

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Appendix: The pronunciation test used as the pre, post, and retention test

Appendix: The pronunciation test used as the pre, post, and retention test

  1. 1.

    Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable?

  2. 2.

    The very heart of our democracy.

  3. 3.

    Is there An Advantage In Using Multiple Indicators?

  4. 4.

    It does not affect the statistics in any way.

  5. 5.

    Behind her, the cupboard doors were open.

  6. 6.

    In this paper, I analyze the fee structure.

  7. 7.

    These answer nodes are added to the graph.

  8. 8.

    This raises levels of anxiety.

  9. 9.

    What is the most appropriate treatment?

  10. 10.

    More research is needed in this area.

  11. 11.

    American black bear.

  12. 12.

    Whole wheat bread.

  13. 13.

    Today, they were gathered to bury their leader.

  14. 14.

    A bias towards business?

  15. 15.

    I’ll stop by the butcher’s on my way.

  16. 16.

    Tap the exact same button three times.

  17. 17.

    They were having coffee in a cafe.

  18. 18.

    They will not cause any harm.

  19. 19.

    He went to get his birth certificate.

  20. 20.

    Chemical Sample Selection

  21. 21.

    The scientist wrote that a colleague helped them.

  22. 22.

    Written and oral communication skills.

  23. 23.

    His wife was so conscious about her age.

  24. 24.

    Redesigning an existing course

  25. 25.

    The cow had a new calf.

  26. 26.

    Thus, the academic discussion of debt priorities has two dimensions.

  27. 27.

    Once in a decade opportunity

  28. 28.

    It is possible to determine the average total fee load per fund.

  29. 29.

    A promising pedagogical development.

  30. 30.

    You think you can conquer the whole World

  31. 31.

    He went to the eye doctor,

  32. 32.

    Except under certain specific conditions

  33. 33.

    The contemnor “carries the keys of his prison in his own pockets.

  34. 34.

    The net effect on the TFL is significantly positive.

  35. 35.

    This would be a great white elephant gift.

  36. 36.

    An analytical study in American foreign policy

  37. 37.

    Forget yesterday’s news.

  38. 38.

    Give me a fruit beer.

  39. 39.

    They show things through gesture.

  40. 40.

    Left behind are gigantic pillars of salt.

  41. 41.

    Most people who come to our hotel are amateur and recreational cyclists.

  42. 42.

    It’s a request to hurry up and have a life again.

  43. 43.

    An Economic Theory of the Criminal Law.

  44. 44.

    Why are you always so stubborn?

  45. 45.

    I saw the dome of the Blue Mosque.

  46. 46.

    There can be a lot of crime occur without you knowing.

  47. 47.

    Those fans today should not waste their opportunity.

  48. 48.

    He didn’t have’ a particularly happy childhood,’ he recalls.

  49. 49.

    They’re probably trying harder with that marriage now than they’ve ever done.

  50. 50.

    Forgiveness in Criminal Procedure.

  51. 51.

    e.g. economics, psychology, sociology, mathematics.

  52. 52.

    This takes us into the realm of language.

  53. 53.

    Sheep can be trained to recognise human faces.

  54. 54.

    The person in question was a relative of hers and was killed.

  55. 55.

    Four separate police forces are monitoring every traveller’s vehicle.

  56. 56.

    Stones do not signal or symbolize Grandfathers.

  57. 57.

    Then talk to a building society at the planning stage.

  58. 58.

    As partial evidence of the success of the course revision.

  59. 59.

    But everyone read with fluency and had a superlative accent except me.

  60. 60.

    Riley wiped a bead of sweat from her brow.

  61. 61.

    She turns towards his uncertainly.

  62. 62.

    And they make the most of their spirit world vacation.

  63. 63.

    It has become so rare thanks to vaccination.

  64. 64.

    In Bustamonte, the police pulled over a vehicle containing six individuals.

  65. 65.

    At that stage, he was a virtual non-reader and was unable to write a coherent sentence.

  66. 66.

    You will need to wear protective glasses.

  67. 67.

    Then the wind dropped and the surface of the sea was still.

Note: As the sentences and phrases were used as distractors the words were not in italic in the participant copy.

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Kartal, G., Korucu-Kis, S. The use of Twitter and Youglish for the learning and retention of commonly mispronounced English words. Educ Inf Technol 25, 193–221 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-019-09970-8

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