8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Jeju Island, Korea
October 4-8, 2004

Pronunciation Assessment Based upon the Compatibility between a Learner's Pronunciation Structure and the Target Language's Lexical Structure

Nobuaki Minematsu

University of Tokyo, Japan

Native-sounding vs. intelligible. This has been a controversial issue for a long time in language learning and many teachers claim that the intelligible pronunciation should be the goal of pronunciation training. What is the physical definition of the intelligibility? The current work shows a very good candidate answer to this question. The author proposed a new paradigm of observing speech acoustics based upon phonology, where all the kinds of speech events are viewed as an entire structure and this structure was shown to be mathematically invariant with any static non-linguistic features such as age, gender, size, shape, microphone, room, line, and so on. This acoustic structure is purely linguistic and the phoneme-level structure is regarded as the pronunciation structure of individual students. This structure is matched with another linguistic structure, the lexical structure of the target language, and degree of compatibility between the two different levels of structures is calculated, which is defined as the intelligibility in this work. To increase the intelligibility, different instructions should be prepared for different students because no two students are the same. The proposed method can show the order of phonemes to learn, which is appropriate to a student and different from that of the others.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Minematsu, Nobuaki (2004): "Pronunciation assessment based upon the compatibility between a learner's pronunciation structure and the target language's lexical structure", In INTERSPEECH-2004, 1317-1320.