Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages and Cultures

First Advisor

Atsushi Fukada

Committee Chair

Atsushi Fukada

Committee Member 1

Jessica Sturm

Committee Member 2

Mariko Moroishi Wei


Japanese learners often have a difficult time in acquiring both accurate perception and production of Japanese special moras. Since errors on Japanese special moras can change the meaning of words, it is important to promote mora awareness in an early stage of the learners' language learning process. However, pronunciation practice including that on special moras is often dismissed in the classroom due to time constraints and other reasons. That is why an online system, available outside the class time, could be beneficial in promoting students' awareness of special moras. This study investigates the effectiveness of online listen-and-repeat practice to promote learners' awareness of special moras, focusing on long vowel production. The effectiveness of online practice is compared to when the practice is done in a classroom setting. In this research, 20 words containing long vowels and five fillers were selected. The subjects were 27 first-year Japanese students and were randomly divided in three groups; 1) Online Audio-Only group, 2) Online Audio-Visual group, and 3) In-Class Choral Repetition group. All three groups received a pretest, listen-and-repeat practice, a posttest, and a delayed posttest.^ While the two training groups were given listen-and-repeat online practice with and without visual cues, the In-Class group received a classroom-style presentation and practice of the same set of words. The visual cue in this research modeled a "karaoke" system, where each mora in the word appears at the same time as that mora is being pronounced, and this system was designed so that learners will notice that the length of a long vowel is the same as any other mora.^ Results indicated significant improvement on vowel duration accuracy for both groups that received listen-and-repeat practice in an online self-study environment, while participants who practiced in a classroom setting did not. However, although the descriptive statistics showed the greatest improvement for those who received the Audio-Visual treatment, statistical analysis did not show significant difference in the participants' improvement among the treatment types. Therefore, future studies are needed to further investigate the effectiveness of different input modalities that could be used with listen-and-repeat practice.