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International Journal of Information Technology & Computer Science ( IJITCS )

Abstract :

Second language (L2) learners have difficulties in acquiring phonemic contrasts that are not found in theirnative languages. For instance, Anglophones have difficulty in producing and perceiving the French vowel /y/ (e.g., “u” in “tu” /ty/ ‘you’) due to its absence in the English vowel inventory. In this study, we examine the impact of the pedagogical use of mobile automatic speech recognition software (ASR) on the phonological acquisition of  the French vowel /y/. The study took place in two universities in Montreal, Canada. The participants were beginner French students with no previous experience with pronunciation instruction or speech recognition software. They were divided into three experimental groups: (1) the ASR Group used a commercial (but free) ASR application in their mobile devices (iPhone or iPod Touch) to complete weekly pronunciation tasks, with immediate written visual feedback provided by the software; (2) the Non-ASR Group completed the same weekly pronunciation tasks in individual weekly sessions with a teacher, who providedimmediate oral feedback using recast and repetitions; finally, (3) the Control Group participated in weeklyindividual meetings “to practice their conversation skills” with a teacher, who provided no pronunciation feedback. The study followed a pretest/posttest design and lasted five weeks. ANOVA results indicated that the ASR Group outperformed the other groups in /y/ production. At the same time, ASR was evaluated very positively by the majority of the participants in our study, particularly because it is perceived as having a positive effect on pronunciation due to the immediate visual feedback that it provides

Keywords :

: mobile learning, automatic speech recognition (ASR), pronunciation teaching, e-learning

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