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Title: Spoken Word Recognition
Contributor(s): Fraser, Helen B  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2012
DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1284
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Abstract: One of the most basic aspects of learning a language is learning its words, or vocabulary. Applied linguistics rightly gives a good deal of attention to understanding the processes by which word meanings are learned, in both first and second language acquisition. But of course, words are not just meanings. Each word, as well as having a characteristic meaning, also has a characteristic sound, or pronunciation, which is just as important for learners to understand as its meaning. However, the processes by which the sounds of words are recognized tend to be given less attention in applied linguistics. This may be because recognizing spoken words seems so easy in everyday experience. The difficult issue, it seems, is recognizing written words, especially in languages like English that have irregular spelling. However, the reason spoken word recognition seems easy is because it is highly practiced and very familiar, not because it is simple - as becomes evident in second language contexts, when learners struggle to recognize even the simplest words (such as red or led). In fact, spoken word recognition is one of the most complex skills of human cognition, and the foundation of other crucial skills, especially (since words must be recognized before they can be reproduced) of pronunciation. Applied linguistics really needs a solid understanding of the complex nature of spoken word recognition, framed in a theory that offers practical guidance on how to respond to a variety of common problems in teaching and learning. This entry outlines some of the key findings of research on spoken word recognition and suggests how understanding this topic is relevant to applied linguistics, especially second language teaching.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Place of Publication: Chichester, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781405198431
Field of Research (FOR): 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
HERDC Category Description: N Entry In Reference Work
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