Dr Becky Muradás-Taylor

MSci (Cambridge), PhD (Nagoya, Japan)

I have spent my career learning languages (Japanese, Spanish), teaching languages (English, Japanese), researching second language acquisition, and teaching linguistics. My primary research area is the second language acquisition of pronunciation. I am interested in why some aspects of pronunciation are so difficult to acquire. I mainly investigate the acquisition of (the notoriously difficult!) Japanese pitch accent by English learners of Japanese.

My degree is in physics (MSci in Natural Sciences, Cambridge University). I became interested in linguistics while teaching English in Japan. I have since completed an MA in teaching Japanese as a foreign language, and a PhD in second language phonology (Nagoya University, Japan).  I speak fluent Japanese (I wrote my PhD thesis in Japanese) and am currently learning Spanish. 

At York St John University I teach second language acquisition, TESOL, and Japanese language. Prior to joining York St John University, I worked at the University of York, where I taught linguistics (phonetics and phonology, language acquisition, and English linguistics) and contributed to a number of research projects. I have several years of experience teaching English (first on the JET programme, and then at Kanazawa Institute of Technology) and I have taught Japanese at the University of Leeds.

 

Further Information

Teaching

I teach the following modules:

  • Japanese Beginners - Level 1
  • Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching – Level 1
  • Language Acquisition - Level 2
  • TESOL - Level 3

I supervise ELT research projects and dissertations at Level 3 and MA dissertations.

Professional Activities

I am a member of the European Second Language Association (Eurosla) and the Japan Second Language Association (J-SLA).

I served on the organising committee for the 24th annual conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA). As part of my post-doctoral work on the project Towards a better understanding of the needs of English learners of other languages: are English listeners 'stress deaf'? (PI: Dr Sam Hellmuth, University of York), I co-founded and co-organised SLP2012, a conference on second language phonology attended by 60 national and international delegates.

I have given talks on Second language pronunciation: with a focus on Japanese pitch accent (Languages and Linguistics Colloquium Series, York St John University), The acquisition of word accent by English learners of Japanese (School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield) and Child language acquisition: the amazing linguistic skills of 8-month-old infants[linked to English Language A level curriculum, AQA spec B] (Prior Pursglove College, Guisborough).

I was awarded funding by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation to organise and deliver a workshop for Japanese language teachers on the implications of my PhD research (Nagoya International Center, Japan). I also co-organised, a CPD workshop for teachers of AS/A2 level English Language (University of York).  

Publications and Conferences

Publications

 

View my publications on RaY here

 

Conference presentations

 

Muradás-Taylor, B. (2017). Acquisition of Japanese pitch accent by an English/Nupe/Hausa trilingual. The international Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech (ISMBS). Chania, Crete.

 

Muradás-Taylor, B. (2016). English speakers’ Japanese pitch accent: "Snapshot" of dynamic system. New Sounds 2016: International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech. Aarhus University, Denmark.

 

White, B., Muradás-Taylor, B., & Hellmuth, S. (2016). Non-persistent "stress-deafness" in L1 English-speaking advanced learners of L2 Spanish. New Sounds 2016: International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech. Aarhus University, Denmark.

 

Murata, M. & Muradás-Taylor, B. (2016). Designing Japanese language teaching materials: students-as-informers and future co-creators. Teaching and Learning Japanese at SOAS Past, Present, Future – Celebrating 100 years of Japanese language pedagogy (and 20 of pedagogues' training). SOAS, University of London, UK.

 

Murata, M. & Muradás-Taylor, B. (2016). Just Ask! Involving students in curriculum design for Japanese. UK LINGUA Multilingual Language Learning and Teaching Colloquium. Durham University, UK.

 

Taylor, B. (2015). Why is Japanese pitch accent so difficult for English speakers? The International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech (ISMBS). Chania, Crete.

 

Taylor, B. (2015). Should pitch accent be taught to English-speaking learners of Japanese? The British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Language Learning & Teaching (LLT) Special Interest Group (SIG) 11th Annual Conference. Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Taylor, B. (2015). Why is Japanese pitch accent so difficult for English speakers? The 4th International Conference on English Pronunciation: Issues and Practices (EPIP4). Institute of Phonetics, Charles University, Prague.

 

Taylor, B. (2012). L2 acquisition of Japanese word accent by English speakers. 22nd Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA). Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.

 

Taylor, B. & Hellmuth, S. (2012). Are English listeners ‘deaf’ to L2 stress? 22nd Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA). Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.

 

Taylor, B. & Hellmuth, S. (2012). An investigation into whether English listeners are ‘stress deaf’. Second Language Acquisition of Phonology (SLP2012). University of York, UK.

 

Taylor, B. (2012). Evidence against purely phrasal pitch in English speakers’ L2 Japanese. Japan Second Language Association (J-SLA) Annual Conference. Hosei University, Japan.

 

Taylor, B. (2012). Word-level accent in L2 Japanese: an individual’s search for order. L2 Prosody workshop. ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism at Bangor University.

 

Taylor, B. (2010). イギリス英語を母語とする日本語学習者が生成する独立名詞のピッチアクセント[The pitch accent of isolated nouns produced by English learners of Japanese]. Japan Second Language Association (J-SLA) Annual Conference. Gifu University, Japan.

 

Taylor, B. (2010). Accent placement in the absence of heavy syllables. New Sounds 2010: The 6th International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.

 

Taylor, B. (2009). The production of word-final pitch accents by BE learners of Japanese. The 12th British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) Annual Conference. Sheffield University, UK.

 

Conference poster presentations

 

Taylor, B. & Hellmuth, S. (2013). The effect of L1 background on perception of varying phonetic correlates of word accent. 19th International Congress of Linguists. Geneva.

 

Taylor, B. & Hellmuth, S. (2012). Exploring stress deafness in English listeners: an experimental study. The 20th Manchester Phonology Meeting. Manchester University, UK.

 

Taylor, B. (2009). The effect of the type and position of morpheme boundaries on the production of morpheme-final pitch accents by BE learners of Japanese. The 17th Manchester Phonology Meeting. Manchester University, UK.

Invited talks

Invited talks 

Second language pronunciation: with a focus on Japanese pitch accent. Languages and Linguistics Colloquium Series, York St John University, UK. October 2014.

The acquisition of word accent by English learners of Japanese. School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, UK. April 2013.

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