Empowering Pronunciation Teaching and Learning with the Use of Ultrasound Technology and Prosody Visualization

Event Date & Time

  • May 2, 2016
    1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Event Description

Pronunciation is an integral part of communication because it reflects speakers’ communicative competence, and affects their self-confidence and social interaction. However, pronunciation has been considered a difficult area to attend to in the classroom due to limited class time and the lack of understanding and resources on speech production. Our session addresses these major challenges by introducing two speech visualization tools (i.e. pronunciation station and prosody visualizer) and discussing meaningful implementations of the tools for pronunciation education.
Session Outline1. Introduction (History of the Project)
2. Demonstration of the Speech Visualization Software
3. Hands-on Training of the Speech Visualization Software
4. Demonstration of the Japanese Pronunciation Tutorial
5. Implementation Discussion
6. Invitation to Future Discussion
The speech visualization software tools were developed by the “Multimodal approaches to the empowerment of pronunciation teaching and learning: Creating online interactive tutorial videos” (Principal Investigator: Dr. Bryan Gick) project team, which was funded by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund at UBC. The pronunciation station allows language instructors to create ultrasound overlay video clips by superimposing an external view of a speaker’s head on mid-sagittal ultrasound imagings of tongue movements, which will help to teach the correct placement of the tongue for the target sound. The prosody visualizer is for language learners; this interactive tool stores and provides visual representations of model pronunciations in terms of stress, intonation, pitch accent and syllabus duration, and also allows to record own pronunciations, which then in turn generate visual representations that can be compared with those of the model.
Through a hands-on training in the use of the speech visualization software, the session participants will:
create ultrasound imagings of sounds, and
use the prosody visualizer to generate and compare their visual representations to those of model pronunciations.
Additionally, the session participants will share instructional design ideas to meaningfully implement the speech visualization tools for pronunciation education. We will present an example of a language program that has implemented the tools in an online format (the Japanese pronunciation tutorial), and discuss plans for future collaborations with other language programs on and off campus.

Bryan Gick (Professor and Head, Department of Linguistics)
Strang Burton (Twelve-Month Lecturer, Department of Linguistics)
Heather Bliss (Postdoctoral Fellow and Sessional Lecturer, Department of Linguistics)
Bosung Kim (Instructional Designer, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology)
Blake Allen (PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, Department of Linguistics)