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Given that Chinese language learners are greatly influenced by their mother-tongue, which is a tone language rather than an intonation language, learning and coping with authentic English speech seems more difficult than for learners of other languages. The focus of the current research is, on the basis of analysis of the nature of spoken English and spoken Chinese, to help Chinese learners derive benefit from ICT technologies developed by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). The thesis concentrates on investigating the application of speech technologies in bridging the gap between students’ internalised, idealised formulations and natural, authentic English speech. Part of the testing carried out by the present author demonstrates the acceptability of a slow-down algorithm in facilitating Chinese learners of English in re-producing formulaic language. This algorithm is useful because it can slow down audio files to any desired speed between 100% and 40% without distortion, so as to allow language learners to pay attention to the real, rapid flow of ‘messy’ speech and follow the intonation patterns contained in them. The rationale for and the application of natural, dialogic native-to-native English speech to language learning is also explored. The Chinese language learners involved in this study are exposed to authentic, native speech patterns by providing them access to real, informal dialogue in various contexts. In the course of this analysis, the influence of speed of delivery and pitch range on the categorisation of formulaic language is also investigated. The study investigates the potential of the speech tools available to the present author as an effective EFL learning facility, especially for speakers of tone languages, and their role in helping language learners achieve confluent interaction in an English L1 environment.
Wang, Y.: Perception and Acquisition of Natural Authentic English Speech for Chinese Learners Using DIT's Speech Technologies. Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2010.