STiLL - Speech Technology in Language Learning

May 25-27, 1998
Marholmen, Sweden

The Accent Coach: An English Pronunciation Training System for Japanese Speakers

Stefan Auberg, Nelson Correa, Victoria Locktionova, Richard Molitor, Martin Rothenberg

Syracuse Language Systems, Syracuse, New York, USA

The Accent Coach is an English pronunciation training system for Japanese speakers, designed to teach certain phonological differences between English and Japanese that are among the most relevant and problematic. This paper presents the modules for training segmental vowel and consonant distinctions of English not present in Japanese, such as lil-HI and /r/-/l/. The system uses a specially adapted but otherwise commercially available large-vocabulary, speaker-independent, continuous speech recognizer to implement the discrimination means necessary for pronunciation feedback. The classification accuracy achieved in minimal-pair discrimination tasks was close to human performance on the same set of tasks, to justify inclusion in the pronunciation training system. We discuss several areas in which the functionality of the speech recognizer should be extended to better fit the requirements of language learning.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Auberg, Stefan / Correa, Nelson / Locktionova, Victoria / Molitor, Richard / Rothenberg, Martin (1998): "The accent coach: an English pronunciation training system for Japanese speakers", In STiLL-1998, 103-106.