The aim of the present paper is to reflect upon the place of pronunciation in English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching at different educational levels in Poland. To collect the data, an on-line survey was conducted among EFL professionals teaching at primary, lower secondary, and higher secondary schools in Poland. The questions focused on the respondents’ beliefs about pronunciation, teachers’ competences regarding pronunciation and pronunciation teaching, and the pronunciation teaching techniques they use. The results depict the most and least frequently used pronunciation teaching techniques at each of the three educational stages, and the beliefs of EFL teachers in Poland regarding pronunciation teaching.
The study investigates pronunciation learning strategies (PLS) deployed by those with good English pronunciation, as well as their beliefs concerning the variables that affect pronunciation competence. In order to collect data for analysis this study surveyed 61 participants who had learned English as a foreign language. They comprised 28 higher education teachers and scholars specialising in English phonetics and phonology, who were defined as good pronunciation users (GPU), and 33 EFL teacher training students, viewed as average pronunciation learners (APL). This cohort responded to a survey on pronunciation learning strategies and expressed their views on several aspects affecting the L2 pronunciation learning process. These aspects were: age of the first contact with L2 (age of onset), motivation, exposure to the target language, the teacher’s pronunciation model, and learning strategies. The study used both open- and close-ended question formats to collect data from both GPU and APL. The analyses of the data helped to create a tentative profile of a successful L2 pronunciation learner.
Róbert Sabo and Jakub Rajčáni
This study describes the methodology used for designing a database of speech under real stress. Based on limits of existing stress databases, we used a communication task via a computer game to collect speech data. To validate the presence of stress, known psychophysiological indicators such as heart rate and electrodermal activity, as well as subjective self-assessment were used. This paper presents the data from first 5 speakers (3 men, 2 women) who participated in initial tests of the proposed design. In 4 out of 5 speakers increases in fundamental frequency and intensity of speech were registered. Similarly, in 4 out of 5 speakers heart rate was significantly increased during the task, when compared with reference measurement from before the task. These first results show that proposed design might be appropriate for building a speech under stress database. However, there are still considerations that need to be addressed.
Marina Beridze, David Nadaraia and Lia Bakuradze
The Georgian Dialect Corpus (GDC) has been created within the framework of the project “Linguistic Portrait of Georgia”. It was the first attempt to create a structured corpus of Georgian dialects. The work of this project includes building the technical framework for a corpus, collecting the corpus (text) data of Georgian dialects including the lexicographic data (dictionaries), their linguistic processing, digitizing, developing annotation framework, making decision on the morphosyntactic annotation. Currently, the Georgian Dialect Corpus is a platform consisting of the dialect corpus, the text library, the lexicographical database/online dialect dictionaries. For the purposes of developing the lexicographical database and dialect dictionaries, we have created a new program – the Lexicographic Editor. It allows us to structure and improve the dictionaries with multiple linguistic and lexicographic information. The lexicographic concept of the GDC has been developed taking into consideration linguistic and social features of the Georgian dialects.
Andrzej Porzuczek and Arkadiusz Rojczyk
Polish is a language where true geminates appear and the occurrence of a double consonant letter in spelling corresponds with double or at least prolonged consonant articulation regardless of the morphological structure of the word. The above principle also concerns most borrowings, such as the English word ‘hobby’, for instance. In English, true geminates do not occur and a morpheme-internal double consonant letter is only a fairly reliable indication of the way the preceding vowel should be pronounced. This discrepancy may lead to negative transfer in Polish learners of English. Our recent research of native Polish speech (Rojczyk and Porzuczek, in press) generally confirmed the results reported by Ladefoged and Maddieson (1996), among others, who found geminates to be 1.5-3 times longer than singletons. In our study we investigate the influence of double consonant letters on L1 and English pronunciation of Polish learners. They read trochaic family names containing intervocalic <nn>. Each name is preceded by a first name suggesting the nationality (Polish, English, German or Italian) of the person mentioned. By placing each tested item in a Polish and an English semantically and rhythmically equivalent sentences (This is .../To jest...), we measure the level of consonant length variation with respect to the language in which the potential geminates appear, the language context and the learning experience of the students. In this way we collect evidence and formulate observations concerning the learners’ awareness of the status of geminates in various languages and the probability of transfer in EFL learning.
Anna Mystkowska-Wiertelak and Mirosław Pawlak
A person’s willingness to communicate (WTC), believed to stem from a combination of proximal and distal variables comprising psychological, linguistic, educational and communicative dimensions of language, appears to be a significant predictor of success in language learning. The ability to communicate is both a means and end of language education, since, on the one hand, being able to express the intended meanings in the target language is generally perceived as the main purpose of any language course and, on the other, linguistic development proceeds in the course of language use. However, MacIntyre (2007, p. 564) observes that some learners, despite extensive study, may never become successful L2 speakers. The inability or unwillingness to sustain contacts with more competent language users may influence the way learners are evaluated in various social contexts. Establishing social networks as a result of frequent communication with target language users is believed to foster linguistic development. WTC, initially considered a stable personality trait and then a result of context-dependent influences, has recently been viewed as a dynamic phenomenon changing its intensity within one communicative event (MacIntyre and Legatto, 2011; MacIntyre et al., 2011). The study whose results are reported here attempts to tap into factors that shape one’s willingness to speak during a communicative task. The measures employed to collect the data - selfratings and surveys - allow looking at the issue from a number of perspectives.
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Zhiyan Gao and Steven Weinberger
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