Prosodic Training for Adult Italian Learners of German: The Contrastive Prosody Method

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This paper presents the Contrastive Prosody Method (CPM), a prosody-centred pronunciation training method aimed at developing prosodic competence in L2-German of adult Italian learners, including both beginners and advanced learners. Using the familiarity with Italian learners’ pronunciation difficulties as the empirical starting-point, the CPM is aimed at impeding and correcting specific prosodic errors and fossilized features in L2-perception and production, mainly concerning intonation contours and word and sentence stresses. The method is also intended to develop prosodic awareness, a native-like ability to identify and discriminate between different prosodic variants relevant in transmitting, together with the verbal component of speech, the speaker’s communicative intentions and emotions. In the CPM, prosody is given priority with respect to segments not only in content, but also as a means to produce adequate speech acts and to develop communicative competence. The CPM is characterized by both a bilingual and a contrastive approach: the students are never considered simply language learners, i.e. potential L2-speakers, but are always treated as bilingual speakers. Moreover, while training L2-prosody, the learners’ L1 is never excluded: L1-prosody is used as a means to produce and acquire accurate word and sentence stresses, and correct intonation contours in L2. Correct prosodic perception is attained by proper identification of L2-suprasegmentals, achieved by monitoring L1-suprasegmentals. This effect permeates to other levels leading to native-like German prosody and segments. Before illustrating the method in detail (4), I briefly present the theoretical and empirical framework of the CPM (2) and I will discuss the different concepts of both the “bilingual approach” (3.1) and the “contrastive approach” (3.2) in relation to the method. Finally, empirical data obtained by comparing traditional segment-centred with prosody-centred pronunciation training will be investigated in view of L2-prosody and segments (5).
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteNon-Native Prosody. Phonetic Description and Teaching Practice
EditorJürgen Trouvain, Ulrike Gut
Numero di pagine22
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2007


  • language acquisition
  • phonetics
  • prototypes


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