English read by Japanese phonetic corpus: an interim report

Open access

Abstract

The primary purpose of this paper is to explain the procedure of developing the English Read by Japanese Phonetic Corpus. A series of preliminary studies (Makino 2007, 2008, 2009) made it clear that a phonetically-transcribed computerized corpus of Japanese speakers’ English speech was worth making. Because corpus studies on L2 pronunciation have been very rare, we intend to fill this gap. For the corpus building, the 1,902 sentence files in the English Read by Japanese speech database scored for their individual sounds by American English teachers trained in phonetics in Minematsu, et al. (2002b) have been chosen. The files were pre-processed with the Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner to generate Praat TextGrids where target English words and phonemes were forced-aligned to the speech files. Two additional tiers (actual phones and substitutions) were added to those TextGrids, the actual phones were manually transcribed and the other tiers were aligned to that tier. Then the TextGrids were imported to ELAN, which has a much better searching functionality. So far, fewer than 10% of the files have been completed and the corpus-building is still in its initial stage. The secondary purpose of this paper is to report on some findings from the small part of the corpus that has been completed. Although it is still premature to talk of any tendency in the corpus, it is worth noting that we have found evidence of phenomena which are not readily predicted from L1 phonological transfer, such as the spirantization of voiceless plosives, which is not considered normal in the pronunciation of Japanese.

Beckman, M., J. Hirschberg and S. S. Shattuk-Hufnagel. (2005) The original ToBI system and the evolution of the ToBI framework. In Prosodic Typology: The Phonology of Intonation and Phrasing, ed. S.-A. Jun. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Boersma, P. and D. Weenink. (2011) Praat: doing phonetics by computer. http://www.praat.org/ [Accessed 30 September, 2011]

Gut, U. (2009) Non-native Speech: A Corpus-based Analysis of Phonological and Phonetic Properties of L2 English and German. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Li, M., S. Zhang, K. Li, A. Harrison, W.-K. Lo and H. Meng. (2011) Design and collection of an L2 English corpus with a suprasegmental focus for Chinese learners of English. Proceedings from the 17th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences, Hong Kong.

Makino, T. (2007) A corpus of Japanese speakers’ pronunciation of American English: preliminary research. Proceedings from Phonetics Teaching and Learning Conference 2007 (PTLC2007), University College London, UK.

Makino, T. (2008) Consonant substitution patterns in Japanese speakers’ English. Paper read at Accents 2008: II International conference on native and non-native accents of English, University of Łódź, Poland.

Makino, T. (2009) Vowel substitution patterns in Japanese speakers’ English. In Ta(l)king English Phonetics Across Frontiers, eds. Biljana Čubrović and Tatjana Paunović, 19-31. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Makino, T. (forthcoming) Devising a notational system for the interlanguage prosody of Japanese speakers' English speech: a pilot study for corpus building.

Meng, H., C. Tseng, M. Kondo, A. Harrison and T. Viscelgia. (2009) Studying L2 suprasegmental features in Asian Englishes: a position paper. Proceedings from Interspeech 2009, Brighton, UK.

Minematsu, N., et al. (2002a) English speech database read by Japanese learners for CALL system development. Proceedings of the International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2002): pp.896-903. Las Palmas, Spain.

Minematsu, N., et al. (2002b) Rating of Japanese students’ utterances of English by native English teachers. (In Japanese) Proceedings from the Fall 2002 General Meeting of the Acoustical Society of Japan.

Minematsu, N., et al. (2011) Measurement of objective intelligibility of Japanese accented English using ERJ (English Read by Japanese) database. Proceedings from Interspeech 2011, Florence, Italy.

Sloetjes, H. and P. Wittenburg. (2008) Realization by category - ELAN and ISO DCR. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2008), Marrakech, Morocco.

Tsubaki, H. and M. Kondo. (2011) Analysis of L2 English speech corpus by automatic phoneme alignment. Proceedings from SLaTE 2011, Venice, Italy.

Yuan, J. and M. Liberman. (2008) Speaker identification on the SCOTUS corpus. Proceedings of Acoustics '08, Paris, France.

Research in Language

The Journal of University of Lodz

Journal Information


CiteScore 2017: 0.16

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.154
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.229

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 165 165 20
PDF Downloads 57 57 12