Does Mode of Input Affect How Second Language Learners Create Form–Meaning Connections and Pronounce Second Language Words?

Takumi Uchihara*, Stuart Webb, Kazuya Saito, Pavel Trofimovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study examined how mode of input affects the learning of pronunciation and form–meaning connection of second language (L2) words. Seventy-five Japanese learners of English were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions (reading while listening, reading only, listening only), studied 40 low-frequency words while viewing their corresponding pictures, and completed a picture-naming test 3 times (before, immediately, and about 6 days after treatment). The elicited speech samples were assessed for form–meaning connection (spoken form recall) and pronunciation accuracy (accentedness, comprehensibility). Results showed that the reading-while-listening group recalled a significantly greater number of spoken word forms than did the listening-only group. Learners in the reading-while-listening and listening-only modes were judged to be less accented and more comprehensible compared to learners in the reading-only mode. However, only learners receiving spoken input without orthographic support retained more target-like (less accented) pronunciation compared to learners receiving only written input. Furthermore, sound–spelling consistency of words significantly moderated the degree to which different learning modes impacted pronunciation learning. Taken together, the findings suggest that simultaneous presentation of written and spoken forms is optimal for the development of form–meaning connection and comprehensibility of novel words but that provision of only spoken input may be beneficial for the attainment of target-like accent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-370
Number of pages20
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • accentedness
  • comprehensibility
  • mode of input
  • orthographic influence
  • pronunciation learning
  • vocabulary learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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