Jason Hughes, UOW College, University of Wollongong
The primal imagen and second language acquisition: using dual-coding theory and cognition to improve pronunciation in L2 English and Spanish

With data collected and analysis commenced, and building upon a presentation given at the UECA PD Fest Sydney 2018, this research project (2018-117, UOW Ethics Committee) explores how pronunciation can be improved and attitudes to second language acquisition enriched through the use of cognitive dual-coding theory and a primal imagen. An initial investigation into the pronunciation of L2 consonant phonemes not spoken in a student’s L1, the project has now expanded to incorporate differences between listening and speaking outcomes of Proto Indo European (PIE) background students with those of other language family origins, notably, Sino-Tibetan.

Diversity is addressed in three fundamental ways. Firstly, through the study of Spanish and English as target languages; secondly, through the variety of L1 languages involved: English, Spanish, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi, Nepali, Bengali, Malayalam and Arabic; and, thirdly, through an analysis of the difference between direct entry English and undergraduate learning and teaching, focusing on student engagement with cognitive pedagogy.

The primal imagen, an image of an Australian animal and an IPA symbol, was inspired by a cave painting from 40,000 years ago that also used images of animals and signs of written communication that may have represented sounds or letters. The universality of speech amongst Homo sapiens, combined with ubiquitous grammatical concepts, is considered alongside new genomic studies that define us all as diverse, yet with a shared, common history.

Jason is currently Subject Co-ordinator of ALS, Academic Speaking and Listening (ALS3) at UOW College and, since 2012, Spanish Tutor (SPAN151 & SPAN152) at University of Wollongong, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Jason has previously held permanent teaching positions at the Universidad de Piura in both the Language Centre and Faculty of Education. A qualified teacher (NSW Institute of Teachers, no. 261004), Jason completed a Masters in Information Management at Monash University in 2001 and has conducted research at both Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) and ABC Television.