Phonetics Exercises Using the Alvin Experiment-Control Software Purpose Exercises are described that were designed to provide practice in phonetic transcription for students taking an introductory phonetics course. The goal was to allow instructors to offload much of the drill that would otherwise need to be covered in class or handled with paper-and-pencil tasks using text rather than ... Tutorial
Tutorial  |   April 01, 2015
Phonetics Exercises Using the Alvin Experiment-Control Software
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James M. Hillenbrand
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
  • Robert T. Gayvert
    Gayvert Consulting, Fairport, NY
  • Michael J. Clark
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to James M. Hillenbrand: james.hillenbrand@wmich.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor and Associate Editor: Jody Kreiman×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Tutorial
Tutorial   |   April 01, 2015
Phonetics Exercises Using the Alvin Experiment-Control Software
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 171-184. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-14-0149
History: Received June 6, 2014 , Revised August 18, 2014 , Accepted October 23, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 171-184. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-14-0149
History: Received June 6, 2014; Revised August 18, 2014; Accepted October 23, 2014

Purpose Exercises are described that were designed to provide practice in phonetic transcription for students taking an introductory phonetics course. The goal was to allow instructors to offload much of the drill that would otherwise need to be covered in class or handled with paper-and-pencil tasks using text rather than speech as input.

Method The exercises were developed using Alvin, a general-purpose software package for experiment design and control. The simplest exercises help students learn sound–symbol associations. For example, a vowel-transcription exercise presents listeners with consonant–vowel–consonant syllables on each trial; students are asked to choose among buttons labeled with phonetic symbols for 12 vowels. Several word-transcription exercises are included in which students hear a word and are asked to enter a phonetic transcription. Immediate feedback is provided for all of the exercises. An explanation of the methods that are used to create exercises is provided.

Results Although no formal evaluation was conducted, comments on course evaluations suggest that most students found the exercises to be useful.

Conclusions Exercises were developed for use in an introductory phonetics course. The exercises can be used in their current form, they can be modified to suit individual needs, or new exercises can be developed.

Acknowledgments
Development of the Alvin software was supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01-DC01661) to Western Michigan University. Thanks to Claire Carpenter for helpful comments on an earlier draft.
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