13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Addressing Confusions in Spoken Language in ESL Pronunciation Tutors

Oscar Saz, Maxine Eskenazi

Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, USA

This paper presents a new approach for developing pronunciation tutors in Second Language (L2) learning. Applying the Basic Identification of Confusable Contexts (BICC) procedure we automatically generate curriculum that is rich in possible confusion contexts which can be practiced by L2 students in read-aloud tasks. This is the basis of a new pronunciation tutor where the student interacts orally in a scripted conversation with a virtual avatar. The student's utterances are automatically evaluated to detect mispronunciations and the tutor provides feedback on the errors which produce a confusion in the message. An assessment was carried out with a group of English as Second Language (ESL) speakers to evaluate the tutor interface as well as to determine their motivation and engagement in practicing English with it.

Index Terms: pronunciation, intelligent tutors, error detection

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Saz, Oscar / Eskenazi, Maxine (2012): "Addressing confusions in spoken language in ESL pronunciation tutors", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 771-774.