Putting the accent on learning: Using the Speech Accent Archive in pronunciation research and teaching

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Abstract

This paper will introduce some ways of using the online Speech Accent Archive (Weinberger 2015) in pronunciation research and teaching. The Speech Accent Archive is an online database of over 2,000 English accent samples from native and non-native speakers of English. For each speaker, there is a recording of a standardized passage and a phonetic transcription of the speaker’s reading, accompanied by brief biographical details. By enabling comparisons within and between groups of speakers, the website provides a valuable resource for both research and teaching. In order to illustrate possible uses of the archive, two specific research questions are addressed in this paper. The first, ‘synchronic’ question is aimed at characterising the patterns of feature distribution that exist within a particular locale; in particular, the possible existence and significance of implicational patterns is explored. The second, ‘diachronic’ question is whether pronunciation instruction has any effect on accent feature distribution within a particular sample of learners. To answer this question, recordings of 90 students reading the Speech Accent Archive passage were made before and after a one-semester course in English phonetics and phonology. The paper will also attempt to illustrate some of the ways in which research and ‘theory’ can inform ‘practice’, for example by predicting orders of acquisition or prioritizing features for instruction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2016
EventNew Sounds 2016: 8th International Conference on Second-Language Speech - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 10 Jun 201612 Jun 2016
https://conferences.au.dk/newsounds2016/ (Conference Website)

Conference

ConferenceNew Sounds 2016: 8th International Conference on Second-Language Speech
CountryDenmark
CityAarhus
Period10/06/1612/06/16
Internet address

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