On the Role of Self-Efficacy as a Possible Component of Language Aptitude in the Acquisition of British [æ]

  • Daniel LeisserEmail author
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 16)


In social cognitive theory it is a common assumption that individuals are not merely passive recipients of external factors, but are able to form and affect their environment. Self-efficacy has been described as one of the major factors seemingly connected with the development of linguistic competence. A considerable amount of research has been conducted to provide evidence for the relationship between self-efficacy and learning strategies, learners’ linguistic performance, causal attributions and anxiety. The research conducted on the relationship between self-efficacy and linguistic competence, however, shows a strong focus on reading and listening skills, mostly neglecting the demand for examinations concerning individuals’ pronunciation talent. This study incorporates the semantic differential method, an adapted version of the Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire, and the Generalised Self-Efficacy Scale to investigate the relationship between 39 university students’ self-efficacy and their phonetic aptitude, taking into account their attitude towards near-open front unrounded [æ], their beliefs about their own capability to realise the vowel in a socially acceptable way, and the ratings of 7 native speakers of British English who were provided with 17 random recordings of The Northwind and the Sun. The study has shown a range of interconceptual correlations between single attitudes towards near-open front unrounded [æ]. Furthermore, the quantitative analysis has also confirmed that self-efficacy is indeed relatable to individuals’ linguistic performance. A significant correlation has also been detected between individuals’ phonetic aptitude and their overall pronunciation score as rated by the seven native British English speakers.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Centre for Teacher Education, Unit for Language Learning and Teaching ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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