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Auris populi: crowdsourced native transcriptions of Dutch vowels spoken by adult Spanish learners

06 Sep 2015-pp 2819-2823

TL;DR: The paper presented at the 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, 6 september 2015, focused on the development of awareness and understanding of language impairment in the context of speech communication.
Abstract: 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, 6 september 2015

Summary (3 min read)

1. Introduction

  • Studies on second language (L2) acquisition have shown that adult learners seldom achieve a native-like pronunciation [1], [2].
  • Many studies relied on evaluations of experts.
  • A strong reason for doing this is that learners do not actually communicate with a limited number of experts, but with a various and extensive group of native listeners.
  • The aim of the current study is to investigate how the auris populi, the crowd's ear, would deal with possibly deviant L2 vowel realizations.

2. Research background

  • There are considerable differences between the Dutch and the Spanish vowel inventories [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12].
  • Studies conducted by Burgos et al. [7], [8] based on samples of extemporaneous speech showed that vowel errors were more frequent and persistent than consonant mispronunciations.
  • Both studies [9], [10] concentrated on the acoustic analysis of the vowels produced by the Spanish learners in comparison to those produced by Dutch native speakers, and concluded that adult Spanish learners do not Copyright © 2015 ISCA September 6-10, 2015, Dresden, Germany INTERSPEECH 2015 2819 employ duration and spectral properties in a native-like manner.
  • Based on the results of the studies mentioned above, the authors can advance the following predictions.
  • Third, the authors predict that deviant patterns found in the acoustic measurements on the same speech material will be mirrored in the listener's transcriptions.

3.1. Speakers

  • To obtain a representative sample of Spanish L1-Dutch L2 vowel pronunciation errors, speech samples from 28 adult Spanish learners of Dutch (9 males, 19 females) with varying degrees of proficiency (A1, n=10; A2, n=7; B1, n=4; B2, n=7, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages [15]) were used in the current study.
  • These data had previously been analyzed in Burgos et al. [10].

3.2. Speech stimuli

  • The speech stimuli consisted of isolated words in Dutch read by adult Spanish learners.
  • The same elicitation material was previously used in Van der Harst [16] and Van der Harst et al. [17].
  • Table 1 shows an overview of all fifteen Dutch vowels and their corresponding orthographic and phonological representation.
  • During the task transcribers were offered a word they had transcribed earlier every 30th token.
  • This was done to calculate the intratranscriber agreement.

3.3. Listeners

  • Prior to participating in the experiment, listeners read the instruction of the transcription task.
  • They were told that they were going to listen to utterances and that they literally had to transcribe what they heard using orthographic spelling.
  • An online questionnaire was administered to obtain background information about the listeners.
  • Almost 200 listeners participated in the transcription task.
  • All participants were Dutch non-expert native listeners.

3.4. The crowdsourcing experiment

  • A web application was developed in Django, in which participants could listen to the stimuli and type what they heard.
  • Each participant received a score indicating the percentage of “correct” transcriptions.
  • This score was based on the most frequent transcriptions given to a word by all transcribers.
  • The idea behind providing a score was to motivate the participants and introduce a game element, as the score could be shared on Facebook.
  • See their companion paper by Sanders et al. [18] for a detailed description of the application.

3.5. Quality control

  • Several criteria were used to filter the data.
  • Only listeners who had Dutch as a native language were included.
  • The intra-transcriber agreement was based on the transcriptions of the repeated items.
  • Listeners failing to meet both agreement criteria were removed from the database.
  • Filtering their data resulted in a total of 17.534 tokens transcribed and 159 listeners.

4.1. Listeners’ transcriptions, vowel confusions

  • The listeners' transcriptions show that both consonants and vowels were given canonical and non-canonical transcriptions.
  • Overall percentages for canonical and non-canonical transcriptions were calculated.
  • The column Total in Table 2 shows that some vowels were more often transcribed by the listeners, namely, <aa>, <e>, <ie>, <o>, <oo> and <oe>, all of them producing percentages above 100.
  • They differ from each other in the way duration and place of articulation are used to make a contrast.
  • The listener's transcriptions of the vowels in the pairs <a><aa>, <i>-<ie> and <u>-<eu> present different patterns (see Table 2).

5. Discussion

  • In general, the results of the listener's transcriptions for the pairs <a>-<aa>, <i>-<ie> and <u>-<eu> are in line with the outcomes of the acoustic measurements of the same speech material presented in Burgos et al. [9].
  • Using only canonical transcriptions would not return a 100% score, as for some words the common transcription was non-canonical.
  • The listeners' transcriptions mirror the vowel problems and the “attractor” effect found in previous studies conducted at their lab and based on both expert annotations [7], [8] and acoustic measurements [9], [10].
  • The authors would like to draw the following conclusions.
  • First, the results of their study indicate that Dutch vowels pronounced by Spanish learners were often transcribed differently from the canonical forms by Dutch non-expert native listeners.

7. References

  • [1] M. Long, “Maturational constraints on language development,” Studies in Second Language Acquisition, vol. 12, pp. 251–285, 1990. [2].
  • P. Burgos, M. Jani, C. Cucchiarini, R. Van Hout, and H. Strik “Dutch vowel production by Spanish learners of Dutch: duration and spectral features,” Proceedings of Interspeech 2014, Singapore, pp. 529–533, 2014. [10].
  • The phonology of Dutch, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. [15].
  • Online: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre1_en.asp, accessed on 27 Mar 2015. [16].
  • E. Sanders, P. Burgos, C. Cucchiarini, and R. Van Hout, “Palabras: crowdsourcing transcriptions of L2 speech,” Proceedings of Interspeech 2015, Dresden, Germany, . [19].

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Aurispopuli:crowdsourcednative
transcriptionsofDutchvowelsspokenbyadult
Spanishlearners
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Auris populi: crowdsourced native transcriptions of Dutch vowels spoken by
adult Spanish learners
Pepi Burgos
1
, Eric Sanders
2
, Catia Cucchiarini
2
, Roeland van Hout
1
, Helmer Strik
1 2
1
Center for Language Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2
Center for Language and Speech Technology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
{j.burgos, e.sanders, c.cucchiarini, r.vanhout, h.strik}@let.ru.nl
Abstract
In this paper we report on a study in which Dutch vowels
produced by Spanish adult L2 learners were orthographically
transcribed by Dutch lay listeners through crowdsourcing. The
aim of the crowdsourcing experiment was to investigate how
the auris populi, the crowd's ear, would deal with possibly
deviant L2 vowel realizations. We present data on the
transcriptions of the non-expert listeners for all fifteen Dutch
vowels. The results of our study indicate that Dutch vowels
pronounced by Spanish learners were transcribed differently
from their canonical (target) forms by native listeners. The
listeners’ transcriptions confirm findings of previous research
based on expert annotations of Spanish learners’ vowel
realizations conducted at our lab, namely, that the five Spanish
vowels seem to function as “attractors” for the larger set of the
Dutch vowels. In general, the results are also in line with the
outcomes of acoustic measurements of the same speech
material, but there are some interesting discrepancies. We
discuss these results with regard to previous studies on the
speech production of adult Spanish learners of Dutch and
outline perspectives for future research. Finally, given our
results, we formulate some evaluative remarks on the auris
populi methodology for future L2 speech research.
Index Terms: L2 speech, orthographic transcription,
crowdsourcing
1. Introduction
Studies on second language (L2) acquisition have shown that
adult learners seldom achieve a native-like pronunciation [1],
[2]. Accented speech does not necessarily impede
communication as long as the pronunciation of the L2 learners
is intelligible and native listeners are able to understand the
intended message [3]. How can we determine whether
accented speech is intelligible? Many studies relied on
evaluations of experts. Another approach is to use native lay
listeners to judge non-native speech, sometimes even asking
them to evaluate specific phonetic contrasts. These
approaches, however relevant, cannot answer the question
what native listeners hear and perceive when they listen to
accented speech. What brings the crowd's ear, the auris populi,
when that ear has to listen to accented pronunciations of a
series of separate words, spoken by a group of L2 learners?
A self-evident manner of finding out whether a word
produced by L2 learners has been perceived or understood is
by asking native listeners to orthographically transcribe the
words uttered by L2 learners. A strong reason for doing this is
that learners do not actually communicate with a limited
number of experts, but with a various and extensive group of
native listeners. A promising way of reaching this group is by
crowdsourcing. In doing so, we will not only obtain a large
and various group of native listeners, but at the same time we
will be able to collect a variety of transcriptions on the speech
of many L2 speakers [4], [5].
The aim of the current study is to investigate how the auris
populi, the crowd's ear, would deal with possibly deviant L2
vowel realizations. The listeners' judgments revealing the
“wisdom of the crowd’s ear” [6] will help us understand which
features of the learner vowel productions may cause
confusions in Dutch lay listeners’perception.
In the remainder of this paper, we first present the research
background in Section 2. Section 3 describes the method, the
crowdsourcing experiment and the quality control. The results
are presented in Section 4 and discussed in Section 5. Finally,
we draw the conclusions of our study in Section 6.
2. Research background
There are considerable differences between the Dutch and the
Spanish vowel inventories [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12]. First,
Spanish has five vowels (/DHLRX/) [13], whereas Dutch
has fifteen unreduced vowels (seven tense vowels: /L, \XHˑ,
øˑ, Rˑ, Dˑ/; five lax vowels: /,, ɛ, ɔ, ʏ, ɑ/; three diphthongs:
/ɛLœ\ɔX/) and the reduced vowel schwa /ə/ [14]. Second,
Dutch has a tense/lax distinction, including vowel length
(short vowels: /L,ɛ\ʏɑXɔ/, long vowels: /DˑHˑ, Rˑ, øˑ,
ɛLœ\ɔX/), whereas Spanish does not have contrastive vowel
length. Third, Dutch has four front rounded vowels: /ʏ, \, øˑ,
œ\/, whereas in Spanish all rounded vowels (/RX/) are back.
Previous research has investigated the speech production
of adult Spanish learners of Dutch [7], [8], [9], [10]. Studies
conducted by Burgos et al. [7], [8] based on samples of
extemporaneous speech showed that vowel errors were more
frequent and persistent than consonant mispronunciations. For
this reason, follow-up research was conducted on the vowels.
Burgos et al. [9], [10] reported on studies in which elicited
material containing read speech was employed. The use of
read speech containing all speech sounds that are problematic
for Spanish learners, was aimed at obtaining sufficient
mispronunciations to be acoustically analyzed. Burgos et al.
[9] studied the production of three vowel contrasts (/ɑ-Dˑ/, /,-
L
/, /ʏ-øˑ/), and that of the Spanish learners’ realizations of all
fifteen Dutch vowels [10]. Both studies [9], [10] concentrated
on the acoustic analysis of the vowels produced by the Spanish
learners in comparison to those produced by Dutch native
speakers, and concluded that adult Spanish learners do not
Copyright © 2015 ISCA September 6
-
10, 2015, Dresden, Germany
INTERSPEECH 2015
2819

employ duration and spectral properties in a native-like
manner. Moreover, in Burgos et al. [7], [8], [9], [10] it was
found that the L1 phonology influences L2 vowel production
and that the five Spanish vowels appear to function as
“attractors” for the larger set of Dutch vowels. Based on the
results of the studies mentioned above, we can advance the
following predictions. First, we hypothesize that Dutch lay
listeners will transcribe the tokens produced by the Spanish L2
learners differently from their canonical forms. Second, we
expect to find the
attractor effect phenomenon in the
listeners' transcriptions. Third, we predict that deviant patterns
found in the acoustic measurements on the same speech
material will be mirrored in the listener's transcriptions.
3. Method
3.1. Speakers
To obtain a representative sample of Spanish L1-Dutch L2
vowel pronunciation errors, speech samples from 28 adult
Spanish learners of Dutch (9 males, 19 females) with varying
degrees of proficiency (A1, n=10; A2, n=7; B1, n=4; B2, n=7,
according to the Common European Framework of Reference
for Languages [15]) were used in the current study. These data
had previously been analyzed in Burgos et al. [10].
3.2. Speech stimuli
The speech stimuli consisted of isolated words in Dutch read
by adult Spanish learners. Every speaker read a set of 29
monosyllabic words in which all fifteen Dutch vowels in
stressed position were presented. The same elicitation material
was previously used in Van der Harst [16] and Van der Harst
et al. [17]. All the words ended either in /V/ or /W/, as it is
known that these consonants scarcely alter the quality of the
preceding vowel [16], [17].
Table 1. Selected -s and -t words used as speech
stimuli from Van der Harst [16]; Vow=Vowel.
Vow
s-word
t-word
Monothongs
/L/
Kies
/NLV/
/ULW/
/,/
Vis
/Y,V/
/I,W/
/ɛ/
Zes
/
]
ɛ
V
/
/
Y
ɛ
W
/
/\/
-
/\/
/I\W/
/ʏ/
Zus
/
]
ʏ
V
/
/
S
ʏ
W
/
/X/
Poes
/SXV/
/YXW/
/ɔ/
Vos
/
Y
ɔ
V
/
/
YO
ɔ
W
/
/ɑ/
Gas
/
V
/
/
U
ɑ
W
/
/
D
ˑ/
Aas
/
D
ˑ
V
/
/VWDˑW/
Long mid
vowels
/
H
ˑ/
Mees
/
PH
ˑ
V
/
/
EH
ˑ
W
/
/øˑ/
Neus
/
Q
øˑ
V
/
/
Q
øˑ
W
/
/
R
ˑ/
Boos
/
ER
ˑ
V
/
/ERˑW/
Diphthongs
/ɛ
L
/
Ijs
/ɛ
LV
/
/
VS
ɛ
LW
/
/œ
\
/
Huis
/
K
œ
\V
/
/
IO
œ
\W
/
/ɔ
X
/
Kous
/
N
ɔ
XV
/
/IɔXW/
Table 1 shows an overview of all fifteen Dutch vowels and
their corresponding orthographic and phonological
representation. No example of the vowel /\/ followed by /s/
was included, as this combination does not appear in Dutch
monosyllabic words, except proper names.
For this experiment we used a set of 29 words produced by
28 Spanish learners. Six speech samples were left out. During
the task transcribers were offered a word they had transcribed
earlier every 30
th
token. This was done to calculate the intra-
transcriber agreement. The inclusion of repeated items gave a
maximum of 833 speech stimuli used in the transcription task.
3.3. Listeners
Prior to participating in the experiment, listeners read the
instruction of the transcription task. They were told that they
were going to listen to utterances and that they literally had to
transcribe what they heard using orthographic spelling.
Listeners were allowed to transcribe foreign and non-existing
words which might closely represent the heard utterance. An
online questionnaire was administered to obtain background
information about the listeners. The number of questions
presented in the questionnaire was limited to keep the
crowdsourcing experiment as simple and accessible to lay
listeners as possible. The online questionnaire contained
questions concerning mother tongue, gender, age and
completed education. Almost 200 listeners participated in the
transcription task. Part of the participants were filtered out,
resulting in 159 listeners whose data was included in the
current study (see section 3.5). All participants were Dutch
non-expert native listeners.
3.4. The crowdsourcing experiment
A web application was developed in Django, in which
participants could listen to the stimuli and type what they
heard. The application was set up in such a way that it was
easy to use and also fun to do. Each participant received a
score indicating the percentage of “correct” transcriptions.
This score was based on the most frequent transcriptions given
to a word by all (previous) transcribers. The idea behind
providing a score was to motivate the participants and
introduce a game element, as the score could be shared on
Facebook. This helped recruiting new participants.
Participants transcribed 100 tokens on average. See our
companion paper by Sanders et al. [18] for a detailed
description of the application.
3.5. Quality control
Several criteria were used to filter the data. Only listeners who
had Dutch as a native language were included. Secondly,
listeners had to transcribe >10 tokens, to be sure that they
really got started to perform the task. The maximum of 833
transcriptions per listener was included (three listeners
continued to perform a second round).
We used two additional quality control criteria to
ascertain the reliability of the data, a measure of intra-
transcriber agreement and a measure of inter-transcriber
agreement [4], [5]. The intra-transcriber agreement was based
on the transcriptions of the repeated items. The inter-
transcriber agreement criterion was based on the percentage of
shared common transcriptions (see [18]). Listeners failing to
meet both agreement criteria were removed from the database.
Filtering our data resulted in a total of 17.534 tokens
transcribed and 159 listeners.
2820

4. Results
4.1. Listeners transcriptions, vowel confusions
The listeners' transcriptions show that both consonants and
vowels were given canonical and non-canonical transcriptions.
We will now focus on the vowels, although consonants also
deserve further investigation. Table 2 displays the most
frequent listeners' transcriptions per vowel. The fifteen target
Dutch vowels are presented in alphabetic order in the columns,
except for the last three vowels, corresponding to the three
diphthongs. The rows show the transcribed vowels, including
both the canonical transcriptions of the target vowels
(indicated by the black squares) and the non-canonical
transcription <ai>. The percentages in the cells indicate how
often a transcription was given to a target vowel. The column
Total shows the sum of all percentages of transcribed vowels
per row. Transcriptions containing percentages of less than 1%
are aggregated in the Rest category (see last row in Table 2).
Overall percentages for canonical and non-canonical
transcriptions were calculated. Our results indicate that
67.44% of all transcriptions are canonical and 32.56% non-
canonical.
The various non-canonical transcriptions (see rows in
Table 2) show that there is variation in the way the vowels
were transcribed by the lay listeners. The highest variation was
found in the long mid vowel <eu> and the diphthong <ui>.
The lowest variation appears in the vowel <aa>.
An interesting confusion pattern is found in the non-
canonical transcriptions for the target vowels <u> and <uu>,
which are often confused with each other, and especially with
the vowel <oe>, as displayed in Table 2.
Table 2 shows that the target long mid vowel <ee>, and
the target diphthongs <ij> and <ui> have non-canonical
transcriptions, such as <ei>, <ai> and <au>, respectively.
These transcriptions seem to point to strong diphthongization,
as observed earlier in Burgos et al. [9], [10].
The column Total in Table 2 shows that some vowels were
more often transcribed by the listeners, namely, <aa>, <e>,
<ie>, <o>, <oo> and <oe>, all of them producing percentages
above 100. These vowels seem to resemble the five Spanish
vowels <a>, <e>, <i>, <o>, <u>, suggesting the idea of the
Spanish vowels functioning as “attractors” for the larger set of
Dutch vowels, as previously observed in Burgos et al. [7], [8],
[9], [10]. A conspicuous case, which needs to be further
examined, is the one of the two Dutch vowels <o> and <oo>,
which appear to be attracted both by the Spanish vowel <o>.
In order to better understand how lay listeners cope with
transcribing specific vowels in a contrast, we decided to study
three Dutch vowel pairs <a>-<aa>, <i>-<ie> and <u>-<eu> in
more detail. These vowels, produced by Spanish L2 learners,
were acoustically analyzed in Burgos et al. [9]. They differ
from each other in the way duration and place of articulation
are used to make a contrast. The contrast <a>-<aa> is based on
duration and place. The distinction between the vowels in the
pair <i>-<ie> hinges on place and not on duration, as both
vowels are short in native Dutch. The contrast <u>-<eu> is
only based on duration, as both vowels have a similar place of
articulation and are both front rounded vowels.
Table 2. Most frequent orthographic representations of all fifteen Dutch vowels transcribed by Dutch lay native listeners;
transcribed vowels <1% are aggregated in the Rest category, >10% in grey, >5% in light grey, canonical transcriptions in
black squares, the orthographic representation of the target Dutch vowels in the columns, the transcribed vowels in the rows;
Vow=Vowel.
Vow
a
aa
e
ee
eu
i
ie
o
oo
oe
u
uu
ij
ou
ui
Total
a
72.21
13.80
0.25
0.00
0.08
0.00
0.17
2.22
0.74
0.08
1.17
0.00
0.08
1.71
0.08
92.59
aa
23.04
79.12
0.00
0.00
0.08
0.00
0.17
0.00
1.24
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.08
0.81
0.17
104.71
e
1.58
0.67
89.38
18.71
2.18
3.28
1.51
0.08
0.08
0.17
2.33
0.00
4.23
0.32
0.67
125.19
ee
0.00
0.00
1.40
59.31
1.01
1.34
6.54
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.08
0.17
4.39
0.00
0.00
74.24
eu
0.00
0.00
0.08
0.25
65.86
0.08
0.17
0.00
0.00
0.08
0.42
4.78
0.24
3.57
3.76
79.29
i
0.00
0.00
4.94
2.09
0.42
51.34
12.66
0.16
0.00
0.00
2.25
0.17
0.08
0.08
0.17
72.18
ie
0.00
0.00
0.25
2.42
0.67
37.98
73.09
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.42
0.34
0.00
0.00
0.00
115.17
o
0.08
0.00
0.00
0.07
0.25
0.08
0.00
86.34
16.29
2.27
1.33
0.34
0.08
0.49
0.25
107.87
oo
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
5.95
0.00
0.08
4.94
72.70
11.09
1.50
5.29
0.00
15.84
1.25
118.64
oe
0.08
0.00
0.00
0.08
0.25
0.34
0.00
2.39
4.38
78.24
34.89
40.96
0.00
3.33
1.75
166.69
u
0.50
0.17
1.23
0.00
2.85
3.36
0.17
0.91
0.00
1.93
44.96
4.61
0.00
1.22
0.50
62.41
uu
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.50
1.26
0.17
0.00
0.33
1.66
9.16
41.10
0.08
0.08
1.09
55.43
au
0.08
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.16
0.08
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
1.95
5.10
7.37
ai
0.08
0.42
0.00
0.08
0.59
0.00
0.25
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
9.36
0.00
0.08
10.86
ei
0.00
0.00
1.07
6.68
0.25
0.08
1.17
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
3.17
0.00
0.17
12.59
ij
0.00
0.42
0.33
6.35
0.34
0.00
0.42
0.00
0.00
0.21
0.00
0.00
66.48
0.00
0.50
75.05
ou
0.17
0.51
0.00
0.00
0.84
0.00
0.00
0.33
0.58
2.18
0.08
0.17
0.08
59.46
3.59
67.99
ui
0.92
0.42
0.08
0.17
3.27
0.00
0.92
0.74
0.08
0.17
0.17
0.51
3.66
7.23
72.10
90.44
Rest
1.26
4.47
0.99
3.79
14.61
0.86
2.51
1.73
3.50
1.92
1.24
1.56
7.99
3.91
8.77
59.11
2821

Citations
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01 Dec 2000

273 citations


Dissertation
01 Jan 2018
Abstract: New Spanish migrants began to arrive in the Netherlands nearly ten years ago, following the economic crisis in 2008 and the steep rise in the Spanish unemployment rate. These Spanish migrants are highly skilled, mobile, highly educated, and speak English well. Most of them work in the high-tech and healthcare sectors. While they can get along communicating in English at first, they soon become aware of the importance of speaking Dutch, because it is required at work or because they want to improve their social interaction. Learning Dutch is hard for adult Spaniards, and when asked what the most difficult aspect of learning Dutch is, most of them would probably answer: “la pronunciacion”, ‘the pronunciation’. The main aim of this investigation is to study the pronunciation problems of adult Spanish learners of Dutch, and their possible sources, as well as to find out how well native Dutch listeners perceive Spanish-accented Dutch pronunciation, in terms of intelligibility. This investigation contributes to the development of specific learning tools for native speakers of Spanish who wish to improve their pronunciation accuracy in Dutch. The outcomes of this dissertation throw light on the specific pronunciation problems Spanish learners of Dutch have, as well as their sources. Such insights can help to propose pedagogical direction in phonological instruction in the Dutch L2 classroom, to develop dedicated CAPT (Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training) programs, and to create materials aimed at raising phonological awareness among Spanish learners.

10 citations


Cites result from "Auris populi: crowdsourced native t..."

  • ...The consistency between the confusion patterns found in the present study and in our earlier crowdsource study (Burgos et al., 2015) demonstrates that involving the crowd’s ear in speech research constitutes a promising approach yielding consistent data that can be employed to analyze the intelligibility of L2 speech and spotlight problematic areas of pronunciation....

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  • ...The findings of the current investigation are in line with those of the earlier crowdsource study (Burgos et al., 2015)....

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Proceedings Article
01 May 2016
TL;DR: A web application for crowdsourcing transcriptions of Dutch words spoken by Spanish L2 learners and the design of the application and the influence of metadata and various forms of feedback is discussed.
Abstract: We developed a web application for crowdsourcing transcriptions of Dutch words spoken by Spanish L2 learners. In this paper we discuss the design of the application and the influence of metadata and various forms of feedback. Useful data were obtained from 159 participants, with an average of over 20 transcriptions per item, which seems a satisfactory result for this type of research. Informing participants about how many items they still had to complete, and not how many they had already completed, turned to be an incentive to do more items. Assigning participants a score for their performance made it more attractive for them to carry out the transcription task, but this seemed to influence their performance. We discuss possible advantages and disadvantages in connection with the aim of the research and consider possible lessons for designing future experiments.

5 citations


Cites background or methods from "Auris populi: crowdsourced native t..."

  • ...To get large numbers of transcriptions, it was decided to use crowdsourcing for data collection (Burgos et al., 2015)....

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  • ...See (Burgos et al., 2015) for concrete results on the transcription variants....

    [...]

  • ...The results of the analyses of the data that were collected with the application are reported in (Burgos et al., 2015)....

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  • ...In their research, (Burgos et al., 2013; Burgos et al., 2014; Burgos et al., 2015) studied the pronunciation of Dutch by Spanish L2 learners....

    [...]


Proceedings ArticleDOI
06 Sep 2015
TL;DR: The paper presented at the 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, 6 september 2015 explored the role of language impairment in speech communication and the role that language impairment has in shaping public perceptions.
Abstract: 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, 6 september 2015

2 citations


Cites methods from "Auris populi: crowdsourced native t..."

  • ...Furthermore, we conducted subjective studies on L2 vowel production, to see how native listeners cope with spectral and durational mismatches in L2 vowel production [20]....

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Abstract This article analyses the acoustical properties of Dutch vowels produced by adult Spanish learners and investigates how these vowels are perceived by non-expert native Dutch listeners. Statistical vowel classifications obtained from the acoustical properties of the learner vowel realizations were compared to vowel classifications provided by native Dutch listeners. Both types of classifications were affected by the specific set of vowels included as stimuli, an effect caused by the large variability in Spanish learners’ vowel realizations. While there were matches between the two types of classifications, shifts were noted within and between production and perception, depending on the vowel and vowel features. We considered the variability between Spanish learners further by investigating individual patterns in the production and perception data, and linking these to the learners’ proficiency level and multilingual background. We conclude that integrating production and perception data provides valuable insights into the role of different features in adult L2 learning, and how their properties actively interact in the way L2 speech is perceived. A second conclusion is that adaptive mechanisms, signalled by boundary shifts and useful in coping with variability of non-native vowel stimuli, play a role in both statistical vowel classifications (production) and human vowel recognition (perception).

2 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
Michael H. Long1Institutions (1)
Abstract: This article reviews the second language research on age-related differences, as well as first language work needed to disambiguate some of the findings. Five conclusions are drawn, (a) Both the initial rate of acquisition and the ultimate level of attainment depend in part on the age at which learning begins. (b) There are sensitive periods governing language development, first or second, during which the acquisition of different linguistic abilities is successful and after which it is irregular and incomplete. (c) The age-related loss in ability is cumulative (not a catastrophic one-time event), affecting first one linguistic domain and then another, and is not limited to phonology, (d) The deterioration in some individuals begins as early as age 6—not at puberty as is often claimed. (e) Affective, input, and current cognitive explanations for the reduced ability are inadequate. The capacity for language development is maturationally constrained, and its decline probably reflects a progressive loss of neural plasticity, itself possibly associated with increasing myelination.

919 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Tracey M. Derwing1, Murray J. Munro2Institutions (2)
Abstract: Empirical studies are essential to improving our understanding of the relationship between accent and pronunciation teaching. However, the study of pronunciation has been marginalized within the field of applied linguistics. As a result, teachers are often left to rely on their own intuitions with little direction. Although some instructors can successfully assist their students under these conditions, many others are reluctant to teach pronunciation. In this article we call for more research to enhance our knowledge of the nature of foreign accents and their effects on communication. Research of this type has much to offer to teachers and students in terms of helping them to set learning goals, identifying appropriate pedagogical priorities for the classroom, and determining the most effective approaches to teaching. We discuss these possibilities within a framework in which mutual intelligibility is the primary consideration, although social ramifications of accent must also be taken into account. We describe several problem areas and identify some misconceptions about pronunciation instruction. In addition, we make suggestions for future research that would address intelligibility, functional load, computer-assisted language learning, and the role of the listener. Finally, we recommend greater collaboration between researchers and practitioners, such that more classroomrelevant research is undertaken.

728 citations


"Auris populi: crowdsourced native t..." refers background in this paper

  • ...is intelligible and native listeners are able to understand the intended message [3]....

    [...]

  • ...However, it is possible that deviant duration values do have consequences for the degree of foreign accent [3] that is noticeable in the speech of Spanish learners of Dutch....

    [...]


Book
01 Jan 1995
Abstract: 1. Introduction 2. The sounds of Dutch: Phonetic characterization and phonological representation 3. The prosodic structure of words 4. Word phonology 5. Word stress 6. Connected speech I: Word phonology 7. Connected speech II: Sentence phonology 8. Connected speech III: Cliticization 9. Orthography

652 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...has fifteen unreduced vowels (seven tense vowels: / , ˑ, øˑ, ˑ, ˑ/; five lax vowels: / , ɛ, ɔ, ʏ, ɑ/; three diphthongs: /ɛ œ ɔ /) and the reduced vowel schwa /ə/ [14]....

    [...]


Journal ArticleDOI
David Birdsong1, Michelle R. Molis1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Second-language (L2) acquisition is generally thought to be constrained by maturational factors that circumscribe a critical period for nativelike attainment. Consistent with the maturational view are age effects among learners who begin L2 acquisition prior to, but not after, closure of the putative critical period. Also favoring the maturational account is the scarcity of late L2 learners at asymptote who perform like natives, and weak effects of native language‐target language pairings. With Korean and Chinese learners of English, the experimental study of Johnson and Newport (1989) yielded just these types of evidence. Some subsequent studies do not support the critical period account of L2 acquisition constraints, however. Accordingly, we undertook a replication of Johnson and Newport (1989), using the exact methods and materials of the original experiment, and a sample of Spanish natives (n = 61). In keeping with recent research, L2 attainment negatively correlates with age of learning even if learning commences after the presumed end of the critical period. We also find modest evidence of nativelike attainment among late learners. Our data further suggest that the outcome of L2 acquisition may depend on L1‐L2 pairings and L2 use. © 2001 Academic Press

531 citations


"Auris populi: crowdsourced native t..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Studies on second language (L2) acquisition have shown that adult learners seldom achieve a native-like pronunciation [1], [2]....

    [...]


Book
01 Jan 2005
Abstract: 1. Introduction 2. Variation in Spanish pronunciation 3. Consonants and vowels 4. Acoustic characterization of the main classes of Spanish speech sounds 5. The syllable 6. Main phonological processes 7. Vowels 8. Plosives 9. Fricatives and affricates 10. Nasals 11. Liquids (laterals and rhotics) 12. Main morphophonological alternations 13. Stress 14. Intonation Appendixes Glossary.

425 citations


"Auris populi: crowdsourced native t..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Spanish has five vowels (/ /) [13], whereas Dutch...

    [...]

  • ...These findings seem to indicate that the “attractor” effect of the Spanish phonology also involves diphthongs, which are combinations of two vowels in Spanish [13]....

    [...]


Performance
Metrics
No. of citations received by the Paper in previous years
YearCitations
20191
20184
20161
20151
20001