What learning a second language might teach us about auditory training

Joe Barcroft, Mitchell Sommers, Nancy Tye-Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this article, we apply theory and research from the field of second language acquisition (SLA) to issues in auditory training for adults with postlingual deafness. Two areas of SLA theory and research are discussed. The first area concerns five hypotheses proposed by S. Krashen about SLA. We apply these hypotheses to issues in auditory training, such as the issue of using instructional techniques that promote development of implicit knowledge of target structures, the role of meaning-bearing comprehensible input, and the importance of creating an affectively positive learning environment. The second area concerns research on acoustic variability and second language (L2) learning. This research reinforces Krashen's hypothesis about attending to the nature of input during SLA, but does so with regard to how spoken input may be acoustically varied to facilitate acquisition. Studies have demonstrated that presentation formats with talker variability are effective for training learners on L2 phonemic contrasts and that presentation formats with talker, speaking-style, and speaking-rate variability (but not amplitude and fundamental-frequency variability) yield positive additive effects on L2 vocabulary learning. In light of these findings, we discuss how acoustically varied presentation formats may be used in auditory training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Hearing
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Acoustic variability
  • Explicit and implicit learning
  • Input hypothesis


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