Many previous studies have reported that experiences of learning a second language promote a learner’s development of phonological awareness of the second language. However, there have been still few papers discussing the impact of second language learning on phonological awareness in the native language. Therefore, this paper attempts to examine whether there is a difference in phonological awareness of the native language between native speakers of Japanese who have studied English and those who have not. Participants were 80 Japanese third graders of an elementary school. The number of valid samples was 74. They had just started learning English in school in the year when the present survey was conducted. They responded to a questionnaire concerning whether or not they had ever studied English outside of school, and they also completed a Japanese phonological awareness test. The participants were divided into two groups according to their English learning experience. The results of the group comparison showed that there was no difference between the groups in the mean score of the Japanese phonological awareness test, but there was a significant difference between the groups in the variance of the test score. The findings suggest two things. First, the experience of learning a foreign language may transform the phonological awareness of the native language. Second, teaching a foreign language may help to diminish the gap in phonological awareness of the native language among students, that is, it can help to support the native language learning of poorly performing students.
Mika Igarashi, Toyo Eiwa University, Japan
Yuki Kitano, Satsuki Gakuen, Japan
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