Jaw dancing American style: A way to teach English rhythm

Ian Wilson, Donna Erickson, Tim Vance, Jeff Moore


Teaching a second language (L2) involves teaching prominence patterns. Sentence prominence patterns vary from language to language. Traditionally, differences in language prominence patterns have been described as differences in timing: syllable-timing (e.g., French) versus stress-timing (e.g., English). Research by Erickson and others has shown that language prominence patterns vary across different languages and are reflected in the patterns of syllable jaw displacements (e.g., [1], [2], [3], and [4]). Moreover, recent studies ([5], [6], [7]) have shown that first language (L1) jaw displacement patterns tend to be transferred to speakers' L2. In this study, we focus on how 20 L1-Japanese speakers transfer jaw displacement patterns when speaking L2-English. We investigate three questions: (1) Can “teaching” jaw displacement patterns help the second language learner to change their jaw displacement patterns to those of the new language? (2) Which method is better for teaching: showing jaw tracings or showing syllable magnitude patterns? (3) Can we see the effects of “jaw training” in terms of changes in formant frequencies, specifically, F1 and F2? Results suggest learners can quickly learn to alter their L2 jaw displacements, and that they seem to find jaw tracings more effective than syllable magnitude patterns as visual aid tools.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-114

Cite as: Wilson, I., Erickson, D., Vance, T., Moore, J. (2020) Jaw dancing American style: A way to teach English rhythm. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 556-560, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-114.


@inproceedings{Wilson2020,
  author={Ian Wilson and Donna Erickson and Tim Vance and Jeff Moore},
  title={{Jaw dancing American style: A way to teach English rhythm}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={556--560},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-114},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-114}
}