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Interaction, corrective feedback, and the development of lexical stress

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Özgür Parlak
Publication date2019
Number of pages318
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Recasts are probably the most commonly studied type of correct feedback by second language acquisition (SLA) researchers and there is substantial evidence that they facilitate different types of L2 development (Li, 2010; Mackey & Goo, 2007; Sheen & Ellis, 2011). However, to date, their impact on learners’ phonological development has received relatively little attention. In order to fill this gap, the current study examined the effects of recasts on the development of lexical stress in L2 English. Following a pretest-posttest design, 68 L1 Arabic speakers were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups. The pre- and posttests comprised sentence-reading and decision-making tasks that contained three-syllable words with stress on the second syllable as the target vocabulary. All learners participated in an interactive role-play task, with learners in the intervention group receiving a recast following misplaced primary stress during the role-play task and learners in the control group not receiving any form of corrective feedback. Acoustic analyses of learners’ primary stress placement focused on syllable duration, pitch, and intensity because of their established role as the main correlates of stress in English (Beckman, 1986; Cutler, 2008; Lieberman, 1960). Results demonstrated that the intervention group’s realizations of second syllables at the posttest exhibited statistically longer duration and higher pitch than their pretest productions, whereas the control group did not show any gains. Furthermore, acoustic analyses of the target words produced by the intervention group showed that the gains were limited to the words that received a recast. In sum, the findings showed a positive effect for recasts on the development of primary stress using acoustic analytical tools. Thus, this thesis contributes to the growing body of SLA research by revealing that recasts can promote development of primary stress placement, hence L2 phonology, a relatively understudied area within the interactionist strand of SLA.