2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

Teaching Japanese Vowel Length to English Speakers: Speech Waveforms as a Visual Aid

Stewart M. Smythe
Dr. Heidi Cook and Dr. Douglas Ball, Faculty Mentors

When it comes to learning and speaking a second language, all adult learners are at the mercy of the sound systems of their native language. For example, native English speakers learning Japanese: Japanese has phonemic vowel length meaning that a difference in the duration of a vowel constitutes a complete difference in meaning. Because vowel length is not phonemic in English, English speakers often find this aspect of Japanese challenging, even after years of study. Luckily, visual aids have been found to be helpful in training language learners to produce and perceive contrasts such as these. However, the visual aids used in many studies are rather complicated, and require additional instruction themselves. My hypothesis argues that simpler visual aids can also be effective in the phonetic training of Japanese long vowels. I will evaluate the pedagogical utility of simple waveform graphs after using them to train 2nd year Japanese students.

Keywords: Japanese, Second Language Acquisition, Phonetics, Phonology, Pedagogy, Linguistics, Teaching a Foreign Language, Computer Assisted Language Learning

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 102-6
Location: SUB GEO A
Time: 9:45

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