Sunday, August 26, 2012

(Program summary of) Preliminaries to Haptic-Integrated Pronunciation Instruction paper presented at PSLTT 2012


Here is the program summary of the talk yesterday at the PSLTT 2012 conference. It presents a pretty good picture of the basis of the EHIEP system. The conference proceedings draft will be available in a month or so, too. 

Preliminaries to Haptic-Integrated Pronunciation Instruction

William Acton, Trinity Western University
Amanda Baker, Wollongong University
Mike Burri, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Brian Teaman, Osaka Women’s University

This paper reports on aspects of a haptic-based (movement plus touch) system for anchoring typical targets of pronunciation instruction: syllables, stress, rhythm, intonation, and prominence.  Research in the last decade into various applications of haptics has been extensive, especially in the military and in the fields of robotics, prosthetics, virtual reality training systems, and hand-held computers (e.g., the new HD iPad.)  The use of haptic integration procedures in part serves to more systematically coordinate all sensory modalities involved in a targeted task.  In virtual reality systems, haptic feedback guides the learner in appropriate movement and developing a realistic “feel” for the object of the virtual simulation.  The recent addition of systematic touch to typical kinesthetic procedures used in pronunciation teaching offers the promise of a substantial improvement in ensuring that instruction “sticks.”  An initial version of the system described was developed for relatively untrained instructors.  That method begins with a simple, haptic-integrated process for getting pronunciation, meaning, and usage from the dictionary and then later applies the same basic procedures to general classroom instruction.  Most of the techniques involved application of movement and touch (much like that used in sign language or interpretative dance) under carefully specified conditions across the visual field.  In informal field testing, this application of haptic procedures to general pronunciation instruction seems to enhance efficiency in anchoring words and sounds and in facilitating both recall and integration of targeted material in spontaneous speech.  

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