Project Overview

What is Visual Pronunciation Tool?

The project “Multimodal approaches to the empowerment of pronunciation teaching and learning: Creating online interactive tutorial videos” (PI: Bryan Gick) is funded by flexible learning Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (funded term: April 2014 – March 2015). The precursor of this project is “Visible Speech Project” (PI: Kathleen Hall) funded in 2013. Both projects share the passion that we would like to make use of the ultrasound technology to help students to learn abstract concepts and ideas related to speech production. In order to do this, we are to create videos which show what is happening inside of the mouth when people speak. Technically speaking, face external videos show the movement of the lips and cheek, but ultrasound videos don’t, while ultrasound shows the movement of the tongue but face videos don’t. Thus through “double-simultaneous recordings” of ultrasound videos and face videos, our multimedia team combined those two kinds of videos, and successfully produced “overlay”.

The goals of this project are two-fold: first, through the practical use of novel visual technology, this project enables Speech Science and Linguistics students to become better speech therapists, vocal trainers, language teachers, and communicators. Second, this visual technology actively engages students in Japanese language pronunciation practices. Approximately 1500 students in Japanese courses and 1100 students in Linguistics will benefit from this enhanced pedagogy every year. The accessibility and practicality of these methods can encourage learner autonomy and lifelong learning. We believe the best results for successful language learning will be obtained through cooperation and collaboration between the Departments of Linguistics and Asian Studies. Moreover, the methods and results can be easily expanded to other language programmes, including distance and blended courses within and beyond UBC.