Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

Evaluation of Benefits from a Computer-Aided Pronunciation Training System for German Learners of Mandarin Chinese

Hue San Do (1), Hussein Hussein (1,2), Hansjörg Mixdorff (1), Oliver Jokisch (2), Hongwei Ding (3), Qianyong Gao (4), Si Wei (4), Guoping Hu (4)

(1) Department of Computer Sciences and Media, Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany
(2) Laboratory of Acoustics and Speech Communication, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany
(3) School of Foreign Languages, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
(4) Department of EEIS, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China

The paper reports on the benefits of a computer-aided phonetic learning system for German learners of Mandarin. In the current study seven German first-year students of Mandarin Chinese participated in a test run of the phonetic training software. The students took four training units of 30 minute each within a week where they practiced their pronunciation and vocabulary with the software. A test was conducted before and after training in which the students read aloud both Mandarin Chinese disyllables of different tone combinations and words as well as sentences which they have encountered before when using the software. The corpus consisted of 25 tokens which were used in both tests, i.e. before and after the training with the software. The speech signals were recorded and then annotated by an expert regarding syllable components (initial, final and tone). The correctness of the syllable components and tone combinations, confusion partners and F0 parameters of Mandarin tones were compared before and after the training. Ten native speakers of Mandarin rated the degree of foreign accent and intelligibility. The results based on the annotations of an expert, analysis of F0 parameters of Mandarin tones and rating of accent and intelligibility show that the German learners yielded more accurate results of initial, final and tone after having practiced with the phonetic training tool.

Index Terms: Computer-Aided Language Learning (CALL), Mandarin tones, prosodic analysis

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Do, Hue San / Hussein, Hussein / Mixdorff, Hansjörg / Jokisch, Oliver / Ding, Hongwei / Gao, Qianyong / Wei, Si / Hu, Guoping (2012): "Evaluation of benefits from a computer-aided pronunciation training system for German learners of Mandarin Chinese", In SP-2012, 362-365.