7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

September 16-20, 2002
Denver, Colorado, USA

Computer-Assisted Second-Language Speech Learning: Generalization of Prosody-Focused Training

Debra M. Hardison

Michigan State University, USA

In a pretest-posttest design, native English-speaking learners of French were given three weeks of training focused on prosody using a realtime computerized visual pitch contour display. Native speaker (NS) exemplars stored on hard disk provided feedback including overlay of the NS pitch contour on the subjects’ productions. These were recorded and later presented to NSs in two conditions to determine the influence of segmental information on their perception of prosody: filtered (unintelligible segmental information) and un- filtered. Ratings were given using 7-point scales for the prosody of filtered samples and both the prosody and segmental accuracy of unfiltered samples. Results revealed a) significant improvement in prosody (filtered and unfiltered samples) after training, b) transfer to segmental improvement, c) generalization to novel sentences, and d) some segmental influence on the NS perception of prosody. In a subsequent memory recall task using a subset of filtered NS training exemplars with reduced intelligibility, subjects identified the exact content of more than 80% of the sentences. Subjects also reported a greater awareness of the various aspects of speech and increased confidence in producing another language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hardison, Debra M. (2002): "Computer-assisted second-language speech learning: generalization of prosody-focused training", In ICSLP-2002, 1217-1220.