MPC: My Pronunciation Coach
STW Valorisation Grant phase 1 (nr. 11078)
- Centre for Language Studies, RU
- Centre for Language and Speech Technology, RU
- Radboud in’to Languages, RU
As a result of increasing internationalization there is a growing demand from the business community for people who speak foreign languages well. The number of people that want or need to learn foreign languages is steadily increasing. However, there are not enough teachers for all of them, especially for practicing pronunciation, which is virtually impossible in a standard classroom setting. We plan to develop a computer program, called ‘My Pronunciation Coach’ (MPC), that students can use to practice pronunciation anytime and anywhere they want. The first version of this system will be intended for Dutch students that want to learn English (fixed language pair). However, we will also look at the commercial and technological aspects of porting the program to other languages and adapting the content to the interests of different user groups.
With MPC students can practice their pronunciation in English: they produce utterances, MPC assesses their pronunciation, checks whether any pronunciation errors were made, provides feedback on the errors detected, and suggests appropriate exercises for improvement. Dedicated technology will be developed to make it possible to perform these tasks automatically within a computer program. Since the system will have to cope with English spoken with a whole range of Dutch accents, this is a challenging task requiring innovative technology, developed and optimized for this specific task. MPC will be web based, providing the students the opportunity to use it anytime and anywhere they want.
Our final goal is to develop a high-end product that educational institutions teaching English can use to support teachers in providing feedback to their Dutch students on their pronunciation of the English language.