Presentations Abstracts Barrett, Catrice University of Pennsylvania Music in the pronunciation classroom: Are all approaches created equal?



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Deguchi, Masanori (Western Washington University)
The role of pitch contours in teaching vowel length distinctions in Japanese
Vowel length distinctions have perpetually troubled both learners and teachers of Japanese. In this presentation, I explore the possibility of capitalizing on qualitative cues, rather than the traditional quantitative cues (e.g., the number of morae), in teaching the said distinctions. In particular, I demonstrate that pitch contours provide a more reliable cue in discerning long vowels from their short counterparts. I achieve this goal from the following two directions. First, I point out that phonetic experiments (e.g., Kinoshita et al 2002) have shown that native Japanese speakers rely on pitch contours in distinguishing vowel lengths when the quantitative cue is not reliable. I also demonstrate that, given the restrictions on pitch accent in Japanese, pitch contours in long vowels realize in systematic and limited ways. Specifically, I illustrate that long vowels in accented words (VV) are pronounced in the High-Low pitch pattern (HL); long vowels in unaccented words (VV) are pronounced in either the Low-High pitch pattern (LH) or the High-High pitch pattern (HH). Second, I discuss some of the reasons why the qualitative cue is not reliable or useful in teaching vowel lengths. For example, Hirata (2004) has shown that long vowels and short vowels overlap with each other in duration across different speaking rates. In addition, given that minimal pairs contrasting vowel lengths are scarce in Japanese (Vance 2008), it is not practical to rely on the quantitative cue in training students to distinguish long vowels from short vowels.
References

Hirata, Y. (2004) Effects of speaking rate on the vowel length distinction in Japanese. Journal of Phonetics.

Kinoshita, K. at al. (2002) Duration and F0 as perceptual cues to Japanese vowel quantity. Perception.

Vance, T. (2008) The Sounds of Japanese


De Meo, Anna (University of Naples L’Orientale)

Vitale, Marilisa (University of Naples L’Orientale)
Putting Italian vowels in the mouths of Russian and Chinese speakers

The present study investigates the role of vowels in the assessment of a non-native accent, through both acoustic and perceptual approaches to the analysis of L1 and L2 Italian speech. To this purpose, 5 Italian, 5 Chinese and 5 Russian female speakers were instructed to read and record a short Italian text containing the whole vocalic inventory of the Italian language. The involved non-native speakers had an advanced level of competence of Italian and a strong foreign accent perceptually assessed. A spectro-acoustic analysis of stressed and unstressed Italian vowels, in closed and open syllables, was carried out: F1-F2 and duration values were detected for each of the 360 selected vocalic elements; formant values were normalized. Furthermore, a perceptual test was also arranged. To this end, the native Italian speaker that received the highest rating as standard accented voice (pre-test) was selected and used both as donor and receiver of a vowel transplantation. Non-native vowels were transplanted into the native voice and native vowels were transplanted into all the non-native voices.

The audio files thus obtained, together with the original productions, were administered to a group of native Italian listeners, who were asked to assess the degree of foreign accent on a three-point scale.

The comparison of the formant values has shown that for the stressed vowels the Chinese speakers use an area similar to the native Italian one, but realize only 5 vowel sounds instead of the 7 typical phonemes of standard Italian, while a general backward shifting can be observed in the Russian vocalic areas. The centralization phenomenon, occurring for the Italian unstressed vowels, is present in the Russian speakers, while it is absent in the Chinese productions.

Data concerning vowel durations and perceptual test outcomes are still being drawn up and results will then be discussed in details.


De Moras, Nadine (Brescia University College)
The effects of L1 in the syllabification of French

Linking is a marker of fluent speech (Hieke, 1984). Syllabification is one component of linking.

French encourages open syllabification, favours consonant-vowel contexts (Delattre, 1947), and avoids vowel-consonant contexts. This includes enchaînements (comparable to English), and liaisons, which are unique to French.

Syllabic equality, syllabification, resyllabification of French liaisons and enchaînements are difficult to master for all L2 learners of French (Charliac & Motron, 1998) and are particularly difficult for non-native speakers of French (NNS), whose L1 has a closed syllabification, including Anglophones (Lambert-Drache, 1997).

This study examines the productions of enchaînements, liaisons, and more specifically unlinked liaisons (non-native form), of Anglophones and other NNS of French. The results indicate that Anglophones seem to have more difficulty in syllabifying French and pronouncing liaisons and enchaînements than other NNS.

Majority Francophones produced 95.6% of obligatory liaisons, while all L2 learners produced 60.9%, out of which Anglophones produced 58.7%, and other L2 learners between 66.1% and 68.6% before intervention.

After intervention, Anglophones produced 66.4 % of liaisons and other NNS between 76.8% and 82.4%. Even though all groups’ production increased, the trends remain the same and Anglophones still pronounce fewer liaisons than other L2 learners.

This study explores the progress of various L1 learners achieved after intervention, the effects of an L1 in the syllabification of French, and the elements which prevent linking.

References

Charliac, L., & Motron, A.-C. (1999). Phonétique progressive du français avec 600 exercices. Principes de phonétique française à l’usage des étudiants anglo-américains. Vermont : Middlebury College, 2e édition.

Delattre, P. (1947). La liaison en français, tendances et classification. The French Review, 21 (2), 148-157.

Hieke, A. E. (1984). Linking as a marker of fluent speech. Language and Speech, 27, 243-354.

Lambert-Drache, M. (1997). Sur le bout de la langue: introduction au phonétisme français. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press,
Heider, Abeer (Qatar University)

Bellakova, Anna (Ruiya Al.Yawm TV)
TV Arabic Speech markers – analysis

Throughout the history of mass media, Modern Standard Arabic, or Fusha, was mostly used as the primary language. Though, it should be mentioned that lately some TV-channels use dialects of Arabic in their broadcasting.


Given the dominance of high-register Arabic in the official sphere, it is worthwhile analyzing how it is spoken (especially spontaneously) in television broadcast settings. It becomes possible to demonstrate that the language of television, in this case televised Arabic (like a language in general) is not a monolithic structure but has regional and social variation (Chambers, Trudgill and Schilling- Estes, 2004 (3). Specific morphological, lexical and syntactic markers allow us to identify the influence of the speaker’s native dialects on their spoken Modern Standard Arabic; how a person speaks provides information about regional and social background (Laver, 1994 (4).

This particular study was conducted on 50 video pieces. Main sample criteria was use (or attempt to use) of fusha as a mainly spoken language during spontaneous interview. The language analyzed in the videos can be characterized as “mixed” or “modified classical” (Classical Arabic with dialectal mixtures) after Blanc (1). It can be also placed on Badawi’s (2) 3-rd and 4-th linguistic levels (“Educated spoken Arabic” and “Semiliterate spoken Arabic” accordingly).



Identifying specific features of native spoken Arabic reveal certain kinds of markers to linguists and Middle Eastern specialists, which allow verification of speaker origin and to enlarge comprehensive abilities.
These markers can be divided into two groups: linguistic and extra-linguistic. The first group is broken down into the following subgroups: specific phonetic features (pronunciation of emphatic consonants in Morocco), morphological characteristics (such as use in Levantine and Egyptian dialects of a b-prefix of the verb, which shows modus indicativus or progressive, habitual aspect), lexical factors (use of the word like “afandi” in Egypt), syntactic changes typical of the dialect (question word generally comes at the end of a sentence, but not at the beginning like in Fusha).
Analysis of these specific speech characteristics has not only scientific but practical importance. Study results may provide an important basis for developing didactical materials for Arabic language courses for foreigners, because often non-native students, who study Arabic, have difficulties with regional specificity of native speakers’ language and the influence of dialects on the latter.

Ghanem, Romy (Northern Arizona University)
The Influence of Linguistic Stereotyping on Grammaticality Judgments of Oral Productions
Linguistic and reverse linguistic stereotyping have been shown to negatively affect native and nonnative speakers’ perceptions of the speaker and the utterance s/he produced. This study specifically investigates native speakers' perceptions of the grammaticality of utterances (based on the Lev-Ari & Keysar (2010) study). Using the matched-guise technique, the researcher will conduct two experiments: the first one investigates reverse linguistic stereotyping by eliciting grammaticality judgments from sixty American undergraduates. Two nonnative speakers produce a series of sentences, half of which are grammatically inaccurate. The participants, however, are led to believe that the productions come from one native speaker and a highly proficient nonnative speaker. The researcher also investigates linguistic stereotyping by having participants make the same grammaticality judgments in relation to two speakers: a heavily accented and a native one. In this case, there are no guises and the audio files are the only instrument used. The results of this study have implications on both academic (such as the language proficiency of an international teacher or student) and non-academic settings (such as professionalism of a businessman).

Holt, Eric (University of South Carolina)
Linguistic factors in the acquisition of connected speech in second language Spanish
Studies of pronunciation in Spanish SLA have mainly focused on segmental aspects. The present study targets the area of connected speech:
Synalepha (V-V linking across words):

Juan retó a su hijita. ([swi])
Resyllabification (C-V linking across words):

Le faltan elementos. ([ne])
Previous research analyzed English-speaking advanced learners’ improvement during the course of three treatments (study abroad; explicit instruction; other course), and addressed research questions regarding the different modes and types of exposure to Spanish and their effect on accurate pronunciation, the degree to which explicit instruction predicts improvement of pronunciation, and the relationship between fluency and accurate pronunciation. While more careful styles of speech are thought to favor more accurate production, for connected speech phenomena, we might expect that increased speed would lead to better production of synalepha and resyllabification. However, previous results suggest this is not fully the case, and that there may be additional linguistic variables at play. Statistical analyses address the following research questions that test the hypothesis that otherwise phonologically-motivated linking will be inhibited by stronger prosodic and structural boundaries:


    1. Does vowel quality of the items/syllables linked affect rate of linking? (C-V, V-V)

    2. Does word category (lexical/content vs. grammatical/function) of the items linked affect rate of linking? (C-V, V-V)

    3. Does morphological category (e.g., plural vs. verbal /–s/, stem-final or verbal /–n/, etc.) of the C or V of the items/syllables linked affect rate of linking? (C-V, V-V)

    4. Does syntactic phrasal structure of the items/syllables linked affect rate of linking? (C-V, V-V)

    5. Does prosodic stress of the items/syllables linked affect rate of linking? (C-V, V-V)

The results of this study contribute to the field of acquisition of Spanish phonology by English speakers, including both in classroom-based learning and full immersion settings, providing insight into subtle contextual and linguistic factors that influence the degree of mastery of elements of nonnative phonology.


Jolley, Caitlin (Brigham Young University)

Tanner, Mark (Brigham Young University)

The Impact of Computer -Aided Pronunciation Training on Suprasegmental Perception and Production Skills in an ESP Program

Language learning (CALL) over the past few years as a means to provide individualized instruction and immediate feedback to learners on the correctness of their responses (Nagata, 1993). Another advantage of technology is that it also provides the opportunity for learners to practice at a time that is convenient for them outside the classroom (Chun, Hardison, & Pennington, 2008). Some of this technology provides visual displays and spectrographic analysis to learners as a means of comparing their production with that of a native speaker (Anderson -Hsieh, 1992, 1994; Hardison, 2004; Molholt, 1998). This type of feedback though focuses largely on segmental production (Breitkreutz, Derwing, & Rossiter, 2002) and is often best facilitated through teacher supervision and interpretation

With research showing the benefits of pronunciation instruction aimed at suprasegmentals (Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1997, 1998; Derwing & Rossiter, 2003; Hahn, 2004; Kang & Pickering, 2011), the question still exists how to facilitate the perception and production of suprasegmentals in a self -directed learning environment with limited or no teacher involvement. This presentation will report on a study conducted with 25 ESL learners participating in an eight -week intensive English for specific purposes (ESP) program where language instruction comprised 4 hours of their daily activities, with one of these hours spent in a computer lab completing self -directed learning activities. In this lab setting, learners completed a series of 10 tasks designed to build their perception and production of thought groups, word stress, and intonation patterns. Using a pre -test/post -test design, speech perception and production samples were collected at Time 1 (week one of the study) and Time 2 (week eight). Researchers analyzed the influence of the computer-aided pronunciation tasks on the learners’ perception and production of key suprasegmental features. Results from this analysis will be shared along with the implications of this type of training on the development of pronunciation skills in an ESP program.
Khan, Abdul Qadir (University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir)
Pronunciation Errors faced by ESL Pahari Speakers

This study examines the pronunciation problems and the causes of the problems that Pahari ESL learners, an Indo Aryan language spoken in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan, experience as English language learners. The participants in this study were the BS students studying at the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Muzaffarabad. In total, 40 students participated in the study and they had completed higher secondary school. Presently they were enrolled in graduation. In order to collect data, six class sessions of one hour each, were recorded and after the transcription of the data, the mispronounced words were listed by the researcher. Finally, these participants were given a list of words to pronounce aloud for recording and PRAAT analysis. The study identifies four English consonants /θ, ð, w, ʒ /, which are problematic for Urdu speakers. It further shows that these consonants are pronounced with native Urdu consonants: English dental fricatives /θ, ð/ are replaced by dental stops /t, d̪/, while palatal voiced fricative /ʒ/ and bilabial approximant /w/ are replaced by voiced palatal approximant /j/ and labio-dental fricative /v/ respectively. Furthermore, it was found that among other factors, English spelling played an important role in the students’ mispronunciations. Because of the irregularities, students are unsuccessful when they try to guess the correct pronunciation of words. Another reason of the mispronunciations is the students’ tendencies to make overgeneralizations. The results of the study may be useful for teachers trying to teach English to Pahari learners. It is suggested that English language learners with Pahari background should be properly trained in order to acquire correct pronunciation.



Khan, Abdul Qadir (University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir)

Qadir, Tayyena Khanum (University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir)

Pronunciation Problems of the Pahari EFL Learners: A Case Study at the BS 4 Year Program, University of AJK, Pakistan
This study examines the pronunciation problems and the causes of the problems that Pahari EFL learners experience as English language learners. The participants in this study were the students of BS 4 Year Program in English, studying at the University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Muzaffaraba. In total, 30 students participated in the study. In order to collect data, six class sessions of one hour each, were recorded and after the transcription of the data, the mispronounced words were listed by the researcher. Finally, these participants were given a list of words to pronounce aloud for recording and PRAAT analysis. The study identifies four English consonants /θ, ð, w, ʒ /, which are problematic for Pahari speakers. It further shows that these consonants are pronounced with native Pahari consonants: English dental fricatives /θ, ð/ are replaced by dental stops /t, d̪/, while palatal voiced fricative /ʒ/ and bilabial approximant /w/ are replaced by voiced palatal approximant /j/ and labio-dental fricative /v/ respectively. Furthermore, it was found that among other factors, English spelling played an important role in the students’ mispronunciations. Because of the irregularities, students are unsuccessful when they try to guess the correct pronunciation of words. Another reason of the mispronunciations is the students’ tendencies to make overgeneralizations. The results of the study may be useful for teachers trying to teach English to Pahari learners. It is suggested that English language learners with Pahari background should be properly trained in order to acquire correct pronunciation.

Kinoshita, Naoko (Waseda University)
Learner preferences and the learning of Japanese rhythm

Differing levels of student achievement in the classroom create challenges for teachers of pronunciation to second language learners. One possible explanation for these differences in success is that they result from mismatch in learning preferences and teaching styles (Peacock, 2001). Investigations into the learning and teaching of Japanese pronunciation have also confirmed such a style based link in the acquisition of intonation (ie. Nakagawa et al., 2008), and rhythm (Kinoshita, 2010). Building on this research, Yanagisawa et al. (2013) demonstrated that learning in the classroom is more effective when learners are encouraged to create their own representational of Japanese rhythm.

This presentation describes and evaluates a class which fosters learner choice taking into account variation in individual learning preferences. Multiple learning techniques were introduced during the teaching of Japanese rhythm, and learners were asked to identify those techniques they believed were personally most effective. The techniques introduced to the class are 1) clapping, 2) haiku, 3) visual acoustic analysis (Praat), 4) pronouncing to a beat, 5) grouping rhythmic patterns, 6) shadowing, and 7) using pronunciation symbols.

A questionnaire at the conclusion of the class demonstrated that learners varied in both the learning method they preferred, and the number of methods they found useful. Of the 25 participants, 16 preferred a single method. The rest found between two and four effective. Using Praat software for visual acoustic analysis and shadowing were the most popular (8 selections each), followed by clapping out the rhythm (7 selections).

Post-hoc testing revealed that the participants significantly improved their ability to perceive rhythmic minimal pairs when compared to a pre-test of the same words (t (24) = 2.43, p = .023). They were also able to identify significantly more new contrasts in comparison to the pre-test. (t (24) = 4.90, p < .001).


Lee, Heeju (UCLA)
The acquisition of Korean prosody by native English speakers and its role on L2 discourse
The current study examines native English speakers’ intonation when speaking Korean during the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Considerable existing research highlights the importance of prosody in first language (L1) discourse (Barth- Weingarten et al., 2010; Couper-Kuhlen & Selting, 1996). However, few studies have drawn careful attention to second language (L2) prosody at the discourse level and those that do focus on ESL contexts (Pickering, 2009).

The present study uncovers the ways native English speakers of Korean at intermediate and advanced levels based on the ACTFL guidelines utilize various Korean boundary tones to convey pragmatic meaning during the OPI. My research also seeks to understand the relationship between prosodic manipulation and levels of speaking proficiency.


Data comes from oral interviews with ten English speakers (five interviews for each proficiency level). Prosodic analysis is based on the K-ToBI (Korean TOnes and Break Indices) intonation framework (Jun, 2000).
Results show that speakers at both levels are able to use Korean boundary tones to reinforce the meaning of utterance-final suffixes. For example, the assertiveness of the committal suffix –cyo in Korean is commonly reinforced with low (L) boundary tone (%). However, only advanced-level speakers are able to change the meaning of the suffix by manipulating boundary tones.
Example (1) demonstrates how the advanced-level speaker C uses the boundary tone to mitigate the assertiveness of the suffix –cyo. The interviewer asks whether C is living with roommates or by himself, presuming that C is not married (line 1). C’s subsequent response rwummeytu kathi sal-cyo ‘I am living with a roommate’ ends with – cyo and LH% (line 2). The hesitation marker ah and the repair phrase ce kyelhonhay-ss- eyo ‘I’m married’ delay the response because neither option posed in the question is accurate for C. In the delayed response, C shows his higher epistemic stance when discussing his personal life (i.e., the roommate status) with –cyo while mitigating the assertiveness with LH%. The high (H) tone of LH% makes the assertive –cyo equivocal and tentative (Park, 2003). The H tone further passes the turn to the interviewer and invites her to infer the implied message, which is ‘I am living with my wife’. In contrast, intermediate level speakers do not display such use in my data.

Example 1

1 Int.:

2 C:


룸메이트하고 같이 사세요 아니면 혼자 사세요?

rwummeytu:hako kathi sa sey-yo animyen honca sa-sey-yo roommate-with together live-hon-Q:POL or alone live-hon-Q:POL

‘Are you living with roommates or by yourself?’

아 저 결혼했어요. 그래서 룸메이트 같이 살죠

a ce kyelhonhay-ss-eyo kulayse rwummeytu kathi sal-cyo ah I marry-PST-POL so roommate together live-cyo [LH%]

‘Ah, I am married. So I am living with a roommate’


This study, therefore, suggests that boundary tone use seen in the advanced speakers’ data is a realistic goal for many Korean language learners. The results also indicate that prosodic manipulation serves as a good indicator of speaking proficiency in L2 and that the assessment results are likely to reflect the participants’ prosodic fluency. It would be helpful if classroom instructions included prosody and its effect on meaning, which would offer learners a richer set of linguistic resources. However, as Chun (1988) argues, current L2 education in general ignores the role of prosody, calling for further research in this area.

 

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