Integrating English Language Into Learner-language-sensitive Pronunciation Training Tool

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2021)
Title: Integrating English Language Into Learner-language-sensitive Pronunciation Training Tool
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Florent Domenach, Akita International University, Japan
Shunsuke Nakata, Akita International University, Japan


This study presents the integration of English language into our learner-language-sensitive pronunciation training system, which has been under development for French and Japanese learners so far. It aims at helping Japanese or French speaking learners for English pronunciation improvement as well as English speaking learners wishing to make themselves better understood orally in French or Japanese. Our analysis is two-fold. Firstly, we used Formal Concept Analysis based on the coding of each vowel features to understand the main differences in articulatory behavior among these languages, which cause the phonetic difficulties for learners. Some of the results discussed identify rounding lips and giving them tension are observed in a more balanced distribution in French vowels than in English and Japanese ones, making French [u] and [o] difficult for Japanese and English-speaking learners. Our analysis serves to discover the most shared articulatory behaviors among the sounds in the target language, which can guide educators to facilitate learners’ overall improvement in pronunciation. Secondly, articulatory distance can be counter-intuitive for learners, and can indicate simpler paths learners should follow to reduce the difficulty caused multiple articulatory changes between two vowels, and thus the number of the operations needed to reach the target sound. The analysis shows that choosing the right starting point and the right path in terms of articulatory economy can be quite far from perceptory distance, and hard for learners to discover.

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