silent pause

Utterance fluency and perceptual fluency in L2 @ ICPhS 2015

After DiSS at Edinburgh, I took a train ride west one hour to Glasgow to take part in the International Congress for Phonetics Sciences (ICPhS). This was an extremely well-organized conference from start to finish.  The organizers did a good job of keeping everyone informed in advance of the conference as well as choosing a highly competent convention center for the venue:  Even when it became apparent that rooms were exceeding capacity, the organizers and convention center made rapid accommodations. That resulted in some room changes for some presentations, but convention center staff were well-placed and well-informed so that it wasn't at all difficult to find the correct room. Thanks to the organizers!

Talking about um versus uh at DiSS in Edinburgh

I recently returned from Scotland where I attended the Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (DiSS) conference at University of Edinburgh.  First, though, a word about Edinburgh: What a lovely city! I arrived at Edinburgh in the early afternoon of my first day, so I had a few hours to walk around town. The central park was filled with families enjoying the summer weather (and the ongoing "Fringe" festival). Old town was fantastic, and the view of Arthur's Seat from Calton Hill was fantastic. I hope I get a chance to go back there soon!

Edinburgh, Scotland - Arthur's Seat

Presenting about a new java application for second language fluency development

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

I had a really great winter vacation: I spent most of it coding! All right, so that's a bit nerdy, but I finally set myself down to work on a project I'd been thinking about for several years. The basic idea is that I've been wanting to see an application that gives some kind of real-time feedback to a second language learner while they are speaking. There are many applications that can give latent feedback, some as early as moments after a pre-set sentence is spoken. But I can't find any that give immediate feedback (or nearly immediate). Of course, some ideas for using speech recognition technology for second language speech practice are good and the feedback is close to real-time (often 1-2 seconds latency). But I have wanted to see about the possibility of immediate feedback that would be comparable to the kind of audiovisual feedback one would get from an interlocutor during a face-to-face conversation.

Presentation at Japan Association of Educational Psychology

Presentation at Japan Association of Education Psychology 2012 in OkinawaLike my previous post, this one is also a little late in getting on-line, but for the record, here it is. In November, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan together with some of my colleagues from the Center for English Language Education (CELESE) in Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering in order to conduct and present in a symposium at the Japan Association for Educational Psychology (JAEP). The title of our symposium was "Important issues concerning the communication skills development of students in higher education".  We focused on four somewhat disparate, but not unrelated topics.  Emmanuel Manalo, the symposium leader, talked about students' use of diagrams during note-taking in order to comprehend the subject matter better; Chris Sheppard looked at factors influencing the failure rate in university level English courses; Fusa Katada considered how universities in Japan are prepared to deal with students with learning disabilities; and I talked about fluency development based on results from the Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena (pilot). Although the content of my talk was similar to that I presented a few weeks earlier at SLRF in Pittsburgh, I emphasized some results from the corpus which suggests that certain aspects of a learner's first language speech characteristics (especially speech rate), can be used to estimate their second language aptitude.

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