October 2022 SIETAR Kansai: Coping with katakana pronunciation: Tools for intelligibility

Speaker: Najma Janjua (Kawasaki Medical School, Okayama)

Date: October 30, 2022 (Sunday)       

 Time: 14:00-17:00

Fee: Free for all                                                      

Language: English

ZOOM Online presentation *registration required*Contact: fujimotodonna@gmail.com to get the Zoom link or for any questions.

Description: Katakana pronunciation, a manifestation of L1 interference, presents a major obstacle for Japanese English language learners, both in making themselves understood and in how they are viewed by the international community. This presentation will introduce a set of pedagogical tools in the form of pronunciation practicing guides to help Japanese students achieve intelligibility in oral communication by minimizing interference from their L1. Test trials of the guides, conducted on over 100 students, showed a remarkable improvement in students’ intelligibility, thereby offering a promising approach to train learners to minimize L1 interference when speaking English. The approach has the potential to be utilized in every walk of life, but is particularly relevant to the field of medicine where error-free communication is indispensable for safe and reliable care and can even be a matter of life and death.

Najma Janjua holds a PhD in human genetics from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and is currently a professor at Kawasaki Medical School in Kurashiki. She is the recipient of the Quebec Ministry of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Japan Ministry of Education Research Scientist Fellowship, a JSPS Special Researcher Fellowship, the Best of JALT Award, TESOL’s Award for Teacher as Classroom Action Researcher, TESOL’s Mary Finocchiaro Award, and Japan’s National Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. Dr. Janjua’s research interests in language education include English for medical purposes, language transfer, and EFL education in Asia. She is the past-chair of TESOL ‘s English for Specific Purposes—Interest Section (ESP-IS) and presently serves as a Councilor on the executive board of Japan Society for Medical English Education.