New Approach to Teaching Japanese Pronunciation in the Digital Era
Challenges and Practices
Pronunciation has been a black hole in the L2 Japanese classroom on account of a lack of class time, teacher’s confidence, and consciousness of the need to teach pronunciation, among other reasons. The absence of pronunciation instruction is reported to result in fossilized pronunciation errors, communication problems, and learner frustration. With an intention of making a contribution to improve such circumstances, this paper aims at three goals. First, it discusses the importance, necessity, and effectiveness of teaching prosodic aspects of Japanese pronunciation from an early stage in acquisition. Second, it shows that Japanese prosody is challenging because of its typological rareness, regardless of the L1 backgrounds of learners. Third and finally, it introduces a new approach to teaching L2 pronunciation with the goal of developing L2 comprehensibility by focusing on essential prosodic features, which is followed by discussions on key issues concerning how to implement the new approach both inside and outside the classroom in the digital era.