Linguistics course! Project #1: Pronunciation Analysis Objective: Analyze spoken language samples to identify non-target production and recommend changes to improve comprehensibility. Instructions Li

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Linguistics course!

Project #1: Pronunciation Analysis

Objective: Analyze spoken language samples to identify non-target production and recommend changes to improve comprehensibility.


Listen to a nonnative English-speaking individual reading an elicitation paragraph (a paragraph that is designed for analysis of pronunciation). Draft a transcription of the passage. Identify errors and outline an appropriate action plan in a brief report. (3-4 double-spaced pages)

Page 1: Intro paragraph explaining the purpose of the paper (to analyze nonnative articulation in English and identify key sounds for modification). You set the tone/stage for the paper discussing the informant’s production, overall comprehensibility, and challenges.

Page 2: Transitional paragraph/section leading into the chart, which should delineate the key sounds. The table shouldn’t take more than  a page, if that, so don’t make it huge. Neatness and clarity of information count! You can explain in more detail in the summation of findings.

Pages 3-4: Analytical summation of the findings (e.g. paragraph per sound with brief explanation of what is going on and what needs to change). Summative concluding paragraph tying the report together and making recommendations for future work.

Steps to follow:

  • Where the sounds appear not to match standard English, make a note.
  • Review the words in which the pronunciation appears to diverge from Standard English (those that are so challenging that you would have a little trouble recognizing the word without having seen the transcript).
  • Identify three problem areas in terms of isolated sounds that appear to be challenging for the (e.g. problems with /r/ or problems with /i/ or problems with /f/ etc. Each discrete sound counts as one of four problem areas.)
  • Brainstorm the reasons for the problems the speaker appears to be Consider, for example, the sounds occurring before and after the ‘problem’ sound. Are they possibly impacting the production of the problem sound? Does the speaker *always* mispronounce the ‘problem’ sound, or does it appear to happen only in predictable contexts? (Remember our discussion of phonological processes and your awareness of the potential for native language to interfere with production in the second language.)
  • Jot down your impressions of what is happening in the production of the sounds.
  • Write up a brief report listing (a) the problem sounds, (b) the description of target and non-target pronunciation, and (c) a brief description of your proposed approach to assisting the students in modifying their articulation.

I suggest the use of the following table to organize your results. You would also include a prose explanation of the approach you would take in assisting the student in modifying his/her production. In the table below, I provide a sample of the type of information to be included in each column. Remember that you have to consider both the words in which a problematic sound is occurring and the specific environments that might be influencing the pronunciation. You should be able to find more than one instance of a given error in the data. Cite those in your table to illustrate the point you are making.

Elicitation Passage

(audio file to use is uploaded to this submission):

Please call Stella.

Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob.

We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids.

She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.


At the end of this mini-project, you will demonstrate the ability to:

  • attend to nonnative and native English pronunciation of sounds
  • identify where pronunciation varies from an established norm (using the provided baseline transcription)
  • explain the difference(s) between the target pronunciation and that of the emergent pronunciation
  • develop a plan of action to assist individuals in modifying their pronunciation to approach the target
  • use the technical language, notation, and analytical procedures in phonetics and phonology to describe all sounds and interventions accurately

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