Pronunciation Needs Assessment of a Mandarin L1 Advanced Speaker of English Angel Lee Azusa Pacific University

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Abstract This paper examines the current English pronunciation tendencies of a 20-year-old native


Mandarin speaker. The speaker has studied English since age 12 and has never traveled outside of his home country of China. He is now an English major at a foreign languages university in China. The speaker's segmental and suprasegmental speaking and listening abilities are examined and recommendations are made for future pronunciation instruction, with further recommendations for how this study might be expanded to create a pronunciation curriculum for advanced classes of Mandarin L1 speakers of English.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Pronunciation Needs Assessment of a Mandarin L1 Advanced Speaker of English The Speaker's Background Mark is a 20-year-old sophomore English major at a foreign languages university in


China. He is from the northeast of China and speaks Mandarin as his first language (L1). Mark has been studying English since he was about 12 years old. He has never traveled outside of China and has learned English primarily in academic environments from other Mandarin L1 speakers of English and from news clips of native English speakers. He is not fluent in any other languages apart from English and Mandarin. Mark wants to work in journalism in the future as an English-speaking host, announcer, or anchor, so he has a strong desire to improve his pronunciation in English. Mark has chosen to imitate the North American English (NAE) accent and works diligently toward the goal of sounding as much like a native NAE speaker as possible. Mark is already highly intelligible, so in this paper, I will assess Mark's needs according to his goal to sound more like a native NAE speaker. Expected Challenges As a Mandarin L1 speaker, Mark would be expected to make many segmental errors with vowels in English. In my English pronunciation work with Mandarin L1 students, I commonly hear segmental errors in the vowels /iː/ and /ɪ/ (such as /siːt/ instead of the target /sɪt/) and /ɛ/ and /aɪ/ (such as /smɛl/ instead of the target /smaɪl/). The Defense Language Institute's (DLI) 1972 contrastive study on Mandarin and English points out that Mandarin has a more limited vowel system compared to English, so Mandarin speakers of English have many difficulties when pronouncing English vowels. The study notes that Mandarin has no lax vowels, so tense and lax vowel contrasts in English are particularly challenging for Mandarin L1 speakers. The study



highlights the following vowel sounds as commonly interchanged among Mandarin L1 speakers of English:  /i/ and /ɪ/  /ɛ/, /æ/, and /ɑ/  /aʊ/ and /ɔ/  /ʊ/ and /u/ In addition to vowel errors, Mandarin L1 speakers have many challenges related to consonants. The DLI (1974) study reports many challenges Mandarin speakers may have with English consonants. Mandarin has only voiceless consonants apart from /ɹ/. Therefore, voiced consonants in English are often difficult for Mandarin L1 speakers, who may substitute /p/ for /b/, /t/ for /d/, /k/ for /g/, /f/ for /v/, /s/ for /z/, and /ʃ/ for /ʒ/. Three commonly challenging phonemes for Mandarin speakers are /v/, /θ/, and /ð/ because Mandarin does not have these phonemes. Instead of /v/, Mandarin speakers might say /f/ or /w/. Instead of /θ/, Mandarin speakers might say /s/ or /f/ in the final position (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.). Instead of /ð/, Mandarin speakers might say /d/ or /z/. Mandarin has a guttural /h/ sound (represented by the IPA symbol /χ/), so the frictionless /h/ sound of English can be difficult for Mandarin speakers. Furthermore, consonant clusters do not exist in Mandarin, and /n/ and /ŋ/ are the only consonants that can occur at the end of words, so these two areas can be challenging for Mandarin speakers in English. Mandarin speakers often leave off final consonants or add a vowel at the end of words. In terms of suprasegmental pronunciation, Mandarin speakers face several challenges in English. The DLI study reports, "Chinese speakers may exaggerate the pitch range of stressed syllables rather than making them louder" (p. 25). In addition, the report shows that Chinese has

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT a "relatively simple stress system," (p. 25) so Mandarin speakers will find the more complex


word stress rules of English difficult to adjust to. Mandarin is a tonal language, so according to Celce-Murcia, Brinton, and Goodwin (2010), Mandarin speakers may have "difficulty adjusting to the very different intonational structure of English," in which intonation does not "change the fundamental meaning of the word itself" but rather "reflects the discourse context within which a word occurs" (p. 230). The DLI study specifically points to the challenges Mandarin speakers may have with yes-no intonation, echo questions, wh-questions, matter-of-fact statements, and exclamatory sentences. Methods for Gathering and Analyzing Data (1) In my session with Mark, I began by engaging in casual conversation with Mark about topics of his choice. The section of our conversation that I later analyzed for pronunciation patterns (see Appendix A) focused on a recent fencing competition at his university in which Mark was the host. I chose this section to analyze since Mark spoke for sustained periods of time, explaining the competition, listing several country names, and occasionally asking me questions. My own talking time was limited in this section. When analyzing the data, I highlighted key intonation patterns and included a short detailed sample transcription using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols. (2) Next, I focused on Mark's segmental listening skills. I gave Mark a minimal pairs listening discrimination activity (see Appendix B) based on recommendations given in CelceMurcia et al. (2010). I had pre-recorded myself reading each sentence in the list, and I played the recording for Mark, asking him to circle the word he heard in the recording. To test the validity of this exercise and Mark's results, I later administered the same exercise to a native speaker of NAE, using the same recording.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT (3) Next, Mark completed a listening dictation task (see Appendix C). I pre-recorded myself reading several minimal pairs with a high functional load given by Brown (as cited in Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, p. 471). As I played the recording, Mark wrote down the word he thought he heard. Later, I again administered the same exercise to a native speaker of NAE, using the same recording. (4) I then asked Mark to complete two listening tasks from a Test of English as a


Foreign Language (TOEFL) practice test (TPO Xiaozhan, 2013). The first task involved listening to a conversation between a student and a librarian about how to find research articles. The second task involved listening to part of a professor's lecture in an art class about an artist's work. After each task, Mark had to respond to several questions about the listening he had just completed (see Appendix D). I included these tasks in my assessment of Mark so that I could gauge his overall ability to listen to and comprehend quick-paced native-like speech. (5) Next, Mark completed seven short suprasegmental listening tasks (see Appendix E) which I designed based on exercises in Celce-Murcia et al. (2010). The first four tasks tested his ability to discriminate between different intonation patterns: to discern whether something was a statement or question, whether the speaker of a question was sure or unsure, whether a question was open-ended or closed, and whether a question was asking the listener to repeat information or give more information. The final three tasks tested his ability to hear word stress, sentence stress, and prominent words in thought units (Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, p. 227). These tasks were all pre-recorded by me and played for Mark during our session. I later tested the validity of the recordings and tasks by administering the tasks to a native NAE speaker. (6) Next, I focused on Mark's ability to produce various intonation patterns by asking him to read a short dialogue as it might be read in three different situations (Celce-Murcia et al., 2010,



p. 266). In the first situation, the dialogue was supposed to be between two male friends of the same age. One of the friends had just returned from a trip and was calling his friend to catch up. Next, Mark read the same dialogue as if it were between a mother and her daughter who were having tension because the daughter had not called the mother since returning from her trip. Finally, he read the same dialogue as if it were between a jealous, furious boyfriend and his girlfriend who just returned from a trip without him. I analyzed Mark's intonation of each situation by comparing them to a native NAE speaker's intonation of the same situations (see Appendix F). (7) As the final task of our meeting, I asked Mark to read a diagnostic passage (CelceMurcia et al., 2010, p. 481) so that I could have a sample of his holistic accent and pronunciation (see Appendix G). This diagnostic passage includes different patterns of sentences, such as questions, lists, and exclamatory sentences and is long enough to include all the common segmental sounds of NAE. I did not analyze Mark's reading of this passage in great detail, but I did analyze key parts of the passage to check for consistency with patterns I had identified in Mark's other recordings. (8) After our meeting, I asked Mark to send me one last recording of himself reading the paragraph designed for the Speech Accent Archive (George Mason University, 2013). This allowed me to analyze Mark's pronunciation compared to four native NAE speakers found in the archive (see Appendix H). I mainly analyzed the recordings for segmental pronunciation, but I also noted differences between Mark and the NAE speakers in rhythm, prominence, and intonation patterns.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Results Segmental Pronunciation Listening. In the segmental listening discrimination tasks (Appendix B and C), Mark


scored slightly below the native NAE speaker. Overall, his ability to hear segmental differences was impressive, particularly related to consonants. Consonants. Mark did not make many of the expected errors relating to voiced and unvoiced consonants that Mandarin L1 speakers often make. In fact, Mark just made three segmental consonant errors, substituting "eyes" for "ice," "red" for "led," and "soon" for "sue." Elsewhere, Mark did correctly distinguish /z/ from /s/ and /ɹ/ from /l/, so these mistakes are not necessarily thought to be systematic. Because the /n/ at the end of words in English is often not pronounced strongly, Mark's substitution of "soon" for "sue" may also be a chance mistake and not a systematic error. Vowels. Mark did have more vowel errors in the segmental listening tasks. Twice, he substituted /ʌ/ for /ɔ/ or /ɑ/ ("hug" for "hog" and "hut" for "hot"). He also confused /aɪ/ and /æ/ ("bite" for "bat") and /æ/ and /ɛ/ ("man" for "men"). The greater frequency of vowel errors indicates that vowels may be more of a systematic problem for Mark, though it is notable that Mark did not make any listening mistakes related to the tense and lax vowels /i/ and /ɪ/, as might be expected by Mandarin L1 speakers of English. Speaking. Mark made more mistakes in his speech production as compared to his listening tasks, but the overall level of Mark's segmental pronunciation was still impressive, again particularly in the area of consonants. Consonants. Mark made few of the consonant segmental errors expected of Mandarin L1 speakers of English. There were no errors in his speech related to the production of /v/, /θ/, or /ð/.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT He did not produce the guttural /χ/, but rather used the standard English /h/. He did not insert vowels at the end of words or to break up consonant clusters. The only systematic segmental consonant errors I noted in his speech production were:


 Lengthening of the consonant /ŋ/ (as in "bring" in Appendix H or "language" in Appendix G)  Oddly placed /ɾ/ (alveolar flap) in comparison to native speakers. In his recording of the Stella paragraph from the Speech Accent Archive (see Appendix H), Mark did not include a /ɾ/ flap in the first "to" in the paragraph ("ask her to bring"), whereas all four of the native speakers from the archive with whom I compared Mark's pronunciation did use a /ɾ/ flap in that word. However, Mark did use a /ɾ/ flap at the end of the paragraph in the words "meet" and "at" ("we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station"), whereas none of the four native speakers used a /ɾ/ flap in the word "at" and only one used a /ɾ/ flap in the word "meet."  Failing to release stop consonants at the end of words so that they can clearly be understood. This was a frequent habit I noted in both transcripts I prepared from Mark's speech. In the Stella recording (Appendix H), Mark did not release the final consonant /g/ on several occasions, which made the consonant sound a bit too much like /k/. In one instance, Mark actually did produce a /k/ sound rather than the appropriate /g/ sound, making the word sound like "backs" instead of the target "bags." In the transcript of his casual speech (Appendix A), Mark generally did not release the /t/ sound at the end of words. This did not create any problems with intelligibility in his casual conversation, and in fact, was reminiscent of native-like NAE connected speech (this will be discussed further in the suprasegmental section). However, occasionally, Mark's failure to release

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT the /t/ in the word "can't" made it sound as if he were saying "can." This was especially true in one instance of the diagnostic passage Mark read (Appendix G).


Vowels. As in his listening discrimination tasks, vowels proved more of a challenge for Mark than consonants in his speaking tasks. One primary error I noticed multiple times was the change of the /u/ vowel (the close back rounded vowel) to a /ʉ/ vowel (the close central rounded vowel), as in the word "to." While not identified as a common problem by the DLI (1974) study, this error makes sense since Mandarin has a front rounded vowel (/y/), and Mark may be inserting some of the placement for the /y/ vowel into his /u/ vowels in English. Mark also pronounced the /oʊ/ sound as /øʊ/ in the word "Poland" multiple times. This again involved producing a close mid-central rounded vowel rather than the target close mid-back rounded vowel that should have been used in this diphthong. Another important error Mark often made was vowel lengthening. He often held vowel sounds longer than native speakers might do in a similar situation, for example /stɛːlə/ instead of /stɛlə/ (Appendix H) or /tʃeɪːndʒd/ instead of / tʃeɪndʒd/ (Appendix G). While this does not affect his intelligibility, it is one of the areas that marks him as a non-native speaker. Mark also occasionally made other vowel errors, such as /fɹɛns/ rather than the target /frænce/. Since he also had an error with these vowel sounds in his listening discrimination task, this may signal somewhat of a systematic problem. However, there were many other instances in his speech in which Mark produced accurate /æ/ and /ɛ/ sounds. Overall, his pronunciation of vowel sounds (apart from the already mentioned /u/ and /o/ sounds) was correct and did not show signs of severe systematic error tendencies.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Suprasegmental Pronunciation Listening. In the suprasegmental listening discrimination tasks (Appendix E), Mark


scored slightly above the native NAE speaker. Overall, Mark answered 49 out of 57 questions about suprasegmental pronunciation correctly, for a total of 85.96% accuracy. The native NAE speaker answered 45 out of 57 correctly, for a total of 78.95% accuracy. Mark especially outperformed the native speaker in his ability to determine the correct word stress (Appendix E, Part V). This does not necessarily indicate that Mark has a greater ability to produce correct word stress compared to the native speaker, but it likely points to the fact that Mark has much more experience noticing and analyzing word stress compared to the native speaker. The final suprasegmental task given proved to be the most difficult for both Mark and the native speaker. They each accurately identified only 10 of 16 possible primary stress words in the dialogue given. This could indicate that the recording produced did not have enough validity, or it could indicate that both Mark and the native speaker are unfamiliar with the process of finding a prominent word within a stress group (as they both, in fact, confirmed for me during our interviews). Mark's ability to determine whether intonation implied a question or statement and an open or closed choice was very high. He achieved perfect scores on these tasks. He also achieved a perfect score on a task in which he had to show whether a wh-question was asking for more information or asking for repetition of the original information. One area in which Mark did not achieve a perfect score was in determining whether a tag question showed certainty or uncertainty. However, the native NAE speaker also missed one of the same questions in this task, so it is possible that the recording of this question was not valid.



To determine whether Mark could attend to meaning while listening to quick native NAE speech, I administered two TOEFL listening exercises to him (Appendix D). His results were not perfect, but they showed a strong ability to comprehend native speech. Later, when I looked at the notes Mark had taken while he was listening to the TOEFL recordings, I found that he had understood many detailed words and phrases. His incorrect answers on this section likely were a result of holistic processing error rather than listening discrimination ability. Speaking. Much of what shows Mark's non-native speaker status is his suprasegmental pronunciation when speaking. As a non-native speaker, Mark faces many challenges in learning and imitating native NAE suprasegmental pronunciation. I will address Mark's speaking results in three areas: word and sentence stress, intonation, and connected speech. Word and sentence stress. Mark produced mostly accurate word stress in both his casual speech and reading speech. As shown in his perfect score on the listening discrimination task related to this topic (Appendix E, Part V), Mark has a high ability to notice and analyze syllable stress within words, and this carries over to his speaking. However, Mark's sentence stress and rhythm were not as precise. As expected, the stresstimed rhythm of English is a challenge for Mark. He did occasionally stress words that carried important information (content words), but this was not always consistent. Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) mention several categories of content words that should often be stressed in English, including not/negative contractions (p. 212). Mark consistently did not stress the word "can't," and since he also did not finish the /t/ sound at the end of the word (as mentioned above), this word was often impossible to distinguish from "can." On other occasions, Mark stressed a word that would not generally be stressed by native speakers. For example, in the sentence, "She can scoop these things into three red bags," Mark



separated the sentence into two thought groups: "She can scoop" and "these things into three red bags." In the first thought group, Mark put primary stress on "scoop." In the second thought group, Mark put primary stress on the word "these" and secondary stress on the word "red." These choices were unexpected compared to the choices of native speakers and did not reflect the principle of Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) to stress content words. A native speaker from Chicago broke the same sentence into thought groups in the following way: "She can scoop these things" and "into three red bags." In the first thought group, he put primary stress on "scoop" and secondary stress on "things." He did not stress "these." In the second thought group, he put primary stress on "bags," not on "red." This is an example of how Mark's rhythm and sentence stress choices were often different from native speakers' choices. Intonation. Mark's intonation production had mixed results. In the intonation dialogue task (Appendix F), Mark's intonation contours basically matched the native speaker's contours in the first two situations (a pleasant exchange between friends; an upset mother and negligent daughter). However, in the third situation (a jealous older boyfriend who is angry with his girlfriend), the native speaker showed low angry or sarcastic intonation from the boyfriend and a low guilty intonation from the girlfriend. Mark's intonation was low when speaking the boyfriend's lines, but not as low as the native speaker. Mark's intonation for the girlfriend was much too high to represent guilt or an understanding that she was "in trouble." This may indicate that Mark's ability to produce accurate intonation that reflects strong or negative emotions is not as high as his ability to produce accurate intonation in other less emotionally intense situations. This would make sense since Mark mainly uses English to communicate in calm, academic environments.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Mark's question intonation was accurate. He displayed appropriate rises in intonation


when asking yes/no questions or expressing uncertainty (Appendix A). He also used appropriate intonation when asking a tag question to which he thought he already knew the answer. CelceMurcia et al. (2010) say that such questions "function almost like a statement, signaling certainty" (p. 234), and Mark's intonation reflected this through falling at the end of the sentence instead of rising with uncertainty (Appendix A). An area in which Mark did not show appropriate intonation was in exclamatory sentences. In his diagnostic reading, Mark read exclamatory sentences in the same way that normal statements would be made. Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) state, "When a speaker expresses an excited emotion, such as enthusiasm, the range of pitch is expanded and an exaggerated rising intonation is used" (p. 246). The native speaker who read the diagnostic passage put more rising enthusiasm in his voice when he read exclamatory sentences. However, Mark did not adjust his intonation for these sentences. A final area that proved to be a challenge for Mark in intonation was in listing information. Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) show that intonation should rise on each item when the speaker is listing a series of item, except for the final item, which should have a falling intonation (p. 241). This intonation pattern was used by all four of the native speakers analyzed from the Speech Accent Archive when they listed items that Stella needed to get from the store. However, in his recording (Appendix H), Mark did not raise his intonation for the beginning items in the list. Instead, he noticeably lowered his intonation with a falling tone on the first two items and then raised his intonation on the final item. This is the exact opposite intonation pattern he should have used. Again, in the diagnostic passage reading (Appendix G), Mark used a falling intonation on each item when listing information, although here he at least did not rise



on the last item listed. In contrast, the native speaker who read the diagnostic passage had a clear rise on the first two items listed and only used a falling intonation on the final listed item. In Mark's casual conversation, he also put falling intonation on each item in a list when he listed the names of several countries (Appendix A) instead of rising on the first listed items and falling on the last item. Connected speech. Overall, Mark does a fair job of including native-like connected speech in his speaking. For example, he always uses linking when pronouncing words that end in a vowel and follow into a word with another vowel (Kelly, 2000, pp. 111-112). This can be seen in the example "so it's" from his casual conversation transcript (Appendix A) in which he inserts the /w/ sound to smooth the transition between the two words. In addition, Mark often reduces words through contractions, though he might not do this quite as often as native speakers do. Mark also reduces sounds quite often, particularly the /t/ sound, as was mentioned above. This can be clearly seen in his pronunciation of "at the" (/æɾ‿ðə/) in the end of the Stella recording (Appendix H). However, Mark is not always consistent in this area, as can be seen earlier in the Stella recording when he pronounces "ask her to bring" as /æsk hɜɹ tʉ bɹɪŋˑ/ rather than /æsk həɹ ɾə bɹɪŋ/, which some of the native speakers used. Discussion From Mark's overall listening and speaking performance, it is clear that he has made great progress already in English pronunciation. In particular, his segmental pronunciation is strong and does not exhibit many of the expected errors common to Mandarin L1 speakers of English. Mark is already almost entirely intelligible in English, especially in casual conversations, when a listener is able to interact with him and negotiate meaning. In a public speaking setting, in which the listeners would be passive, there would occasionally be opportunity for



misunderstanding of Mark's speech, as in the example of "can" versus "can't." However, for the most part, Mark would still be intelligible, and therefore, most of my recommendations for his further pronunciation instruction are focused on his goal to sound more like a native NAE speaker. Because Mark is already a highly intelligible speaker, my recommendations can be used in any order and should likely overlap as he continues to study pronunciation in the future. Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) recommend a five-step communicative framework (p. 45) for teaching pronunciation. This framework guides students through a process of first noticing pronunciation features (Step 1: Description and Analysis, Step 2: Listening Discrimination), then beginning to practice the pronunciation features themselves (Step 3: Controlled Practice), and finally moving toward more automaticity in communication (Step 4: Guided Practice, Step 5: Communicative Practice). In the first several recommendations of each section, I will include one sample teaching activity for each of the five steps in the communicative framework to give specific ideas for how this framework can be applied to Mark's instruction. Afterward, I will only include an example for step 1; previous examples or other ideas can be adapted for the remaining steps. Segmental Recommendations The consistent problems found in Mark's segmental pronunciation of consonants were pronunciation of the /ŋ/ sound, pronunciation of final consonants (particularly /g/ instead of /k/), and sensible placement of the /ɾ/ alveolar flap. In all of these areas, it is clear that Mark has already had training because he does not consistently fail to produce the target sounds. Instead, he just needs to work on refinement or placement of these sounds in order to achieve more native-like pronunciation. The major problems found in Mark's pronunciation of vowels were his

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT tendency to pronounce vowels that should have been back rounded vowels as central rounded vowels and his tendency to over-lengthen vowels.


The /ŋ/ sound. Mark is producing the sound correctly, but he is usually lengthening it too much compared to native speakers. Therefore, drawing Mark's attention to this habit is important. Step 1: Description and Analysis. Talk about the problem with Mark. Ask him to first explain what he does to create the /ŋ/ sound. Identify whether he makes any changes in the way he produces this sound in English compared to the way he produces it in Mandarin (since this sound is also used in Mandarin). Explain to Mark that he is producing the sound correctly in English, but he is holding it out a little too long, which is contributing to his non-native pronunciation. Step 2: Listening Discrimination. Make a recording of a passage being read in which numerous /ŋ/ sounds occur. Intentionally lengthen only some of the /ŋ/ sounds, but not all. Have Mark listen to the passage twice. The first time, he should simply notice where the /ŋ/ sounds are pronounced. The second time, he should listen for whether any of the /ŋ/ sounds are too long. Afterward, compare his answers with the correct answers and talk again about the differences. Step 3: Controlled Practice. Record Mark reading the passage on his own, attempting to first read all the /ŋ/ sounds in the old incorrect way, and the second time to read all the /ŋ/ sounds in the correct shorter way. Listen to the recordings with Mark and again discuss the differences. Step 4: Guided Practice. Play a memory exercise game with Mark, in which he and the teacher (or any other students present) have to say what someone is "bringing" to the "fling." As players take turns adding more things on to the list, each person has to remember what was said before. Items should be listed in alphabetical order with the first letter of the item matching the first letter of the person's name. An example sentence Mark might eventually have to say would

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT be, "Alice is bringing apples to the fling; Brian is bringing bears to the fling; Christine is


bringing cherries to the fling; Dawn is bringing daisies to the fling; Edgar is bringing eggs to the fling; Felicia is bringing feathers to the fling . . . " Step 5: Communicative Practice. Ask Mark to make a calendar that shows all of the activities he has to complete over the next month. Discuss together what he will be doing on particular days at particular times. For example, ask Mark what he will be doing on June 15 at 7:00. Mark should reply using the progressive form of a verb, for example, "On June 15 at 7:00, I will be studying for my final exam." Using the progressive form of the verbs should give Mark communicative practice for the /ŋ/ sound. Final consonants. Mark produces many final consonants correctly, but occasionally he has trouble with voiced versus unvoiced final consonants, particularly /g/ and /k/. Step 1: Description and Analysis. Review final consonant information with Mark. For example, review which consonants are voiced and unvoiced, which include a release of the final consonant, and which include lengthened vowels (Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, pp. 92-93). Focus particularly on the /g/ and /k/ sounds, since Mark has problems with these more than with other consonant endings. Step 2: Listening Discrimination. Make a recording of several minimal pair words and sentences containing different consonant endings. Ask Mark to identify which sound is being read. Step 3: Controlled Practice. Have Mark read several tongue twisters that are created to highlight words with different consonant endings. For example, he could read the following tongue twister: "Bring the thick bags to the back, Sig."

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Step 4: Guided Practice. Give Mark a passage that contains blank spaces where Mark


can write in a word that ends in a tricky consonant sound (i.e. "bag" and "back"). He should write in the word he wants to say in each blank. Meanwhile, the teacher or another student should have the same passage. After Mark has written in the words he wants to say, he should read the passage aloud to the teacher or the other student without showing them the words he has written. As they listen, the teacher or student should write the words they think they hear Mark say. Afterward, they can compare answers and check for intelligibility. Step 5: Communicative Practice. Using the sample lesson idea in Kelly (2010) about advertising slogans (p. 61), give Mark several pictures of items that end in a challenging consonant sound and ask him to create short TV commercials about the products. The /ɾ/ flap. Mark produces this sound accurately; however, he does not always produce it in the same places that native speakers might. Step 1: Description and Analysis. Review with Mark the difference between the /t/ sound, the /d/ sound, and the /ɾ/ sound. He may know this information intuitively from listening to native speech, but he may not cognitively be aware of the differences. Explain when the /ɾ/ is used in NAE (Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, pp. 88-89). Give Mark the sample activity in CelceMurcia et al. (2010) in which he needs to find the flaps and circle them (p. 90). Step 2: Listening Discrimination. Play a recording or read several examples of words spoken with a /ɾ/ and with a /t/. (See Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, p. 88 for examples.) In addition, words such as "water" can be played pronounced in an American style with a /ɾ/ and in a British style with a /t/. Mark should discriminate between whether he hears a /ɾ/ sound or a /t/ sound. Step 3: Controlled Practice. Have Mark read the dialogue in Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) in which he must accurately include both flaps and /t/ sounds (p. 90).



Step 4: Guided Practice. Have Mark participate in a matching activity like Figure 3.15 in Celce-Murcia et al. (2010, p. 91) in which he must match a person with a /ɾ/ in their name (i.e. Betty) to a present progressive activity with a /ɾ/ (i.e. eating). Step 5: Communicative Practice. Find a recipe with several /ɾ/ sounds (i.e. butter, batter). If possible, make the recipe together, asking Mark to explaining what to do each step of the way. If it is not possible to make the recipe in person, have him make it at home, and then explain later what he did to prepare the food. Back rounded vowels. In his recordings, Mark often pronounced back rounded vowels as central rounded vowels, for example /ʉ/ instead of /u/ and /øʊ/ instead of /oʊ/. This did not affect his intelligibility, but it did mark him as having a non-native accent. Step 1: Description and Analysis. Show Mark the vowel chart on Armstrong's (n.d.) website and give him a flat, oval-shaped lollipop. Ask him to hold the lollipop in his mouth as he practices making the back rounded vowels and the central rounded vowels. Extend the practice of vowels to include whole words such as "to" and "Poland." Have Mark practice the old incorrect way in comparison to the new correct way. The lollipop will help him to feel and notice the difference between the vowel shapes, and the flat shape will allow it to stick in place to his tongue so that he can pronounce as naturally as possible without the need to force the lollipop to stay in his mouth. (For Steps 2 - 5, adapt a previously mentioned exercise or insert a new idea.) Creating appropriately lengthened vowels. Mark does an excellent job pronouncing long and short vowels distinctively. However, his attention to this point may have created the tendency he has to over-lengthen many vowel sounds. This tendency should be addressed so that Mark can develop a more balanced approach to pronouncing long vowels in a native-like manner.



Step 1: Description and Analysis. Review the rules of long and short vowel sounds with Mark. Mark will already be familiar with the differences between vowels such as /i/ and /ɪ/ since he consistently identified and produced them correctly in my samples of his speech. Review concepts of stressed versus unstressed syllables and how they affect long vowels and reduced vowels. Review that certain letters around a vowel can make it longer or shorter (i.e. "back" and "bag"; Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, p. 92). Once the rules are reviewed, explain that these rules can be taken too far. When vowels are over-lengthened, it sounds unnatural in regular speech. Step 2: Listening Discrimination. Play excerpts of Mark's speech compared to native speakers saying the same thing. Ask him to note the vowels that are over-lengthened in his own speech compared to the native speakers' speech. (For Steps 3 - 5, adapt a previously mentioned exercise or insert a new idea.) Suprasegmental Recommendations The main problems Mark needs to address in his suprasegmental pronunciation are sentence stress and rhythm and developing greater ability to express appropriate intonation when stronger emotions, exclamatory sentences, or lists are involved. Sentence stress and rhythm. Because sentence stress and rhythm can be so contextdependent (Kelly, 2000, pp. 71-76), it is difficult to quickly present information about this pronunciation point in the same way that other pronunciation points can be addressed more quickly. Therefore, I recommend teaching Mark general rules about sentence stress and rhythm but focusing mainly on developing his ability to notice sentence stress and rhythm when listening to native speakers talk. Step 1: Description and Analysis. Present Kelly's (2000) three rules about sentence stress to Mark: (a) multiple syllables in isolation will have one stressed syllable; (b) words arranged in

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT a longer thought group will have certain syllables stressed to highlight the most important


information; (c) intonation will also impact sentence stress (p. 73). Explain Celce-Murcia et al.'s (2010) concept of prominence and thought groups (pp. 221-230). Teach Mark how to notice and mark thought groups and prominent syllables when listening to native speakers talk. Step 2: Listening Discrimination. Watch a short excerpt of a television show with Mark. Have him transcribe the thought groups and prominent words that he hears. He may repeat the excerpt as many times as he needs to. Match his transcription with your own transcription and compare for errors. Listen again if necessary to highlight the corrections. Repeat this step often, and have Mark practice this on his own in order to improve his noticing ability of sentence stress and rhythm. Step 3: Controlled Practice. Give Mark a variety of sentences that have already been marked with prominence to practice drilling. Step 4: Guided Practice. Give Mark a list of "getting to know you" questions with short answers. (Example: What's your favorite color?) Take turns asking each other these questions, working on correct word stress and rhythm for the questions and answers. Step 5: Communicative Practice. Talk with Mark about gifts you would each like to buy for friends and family members. Describe the gifts in detail, adding information such as color, size, and material. This will help practice stress when adding new information. Intonation. Mark needs to develop more accurate intonation skills when expressing strong emotion, reading exclamatory sentences, and listing information. I will give an example framework for teaching strong emotion intonation. These should also be adapted to teach exclamatory sentences and listing information.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Step 1: Description and Analysis. Review that intonation in English does not usually


change the meaning like it does in Chinese, but instead, it expresses the context and can show the emotions of the speaker. Explain that the stronger the emotion, the more likely it is to be expressed through intonation. Ask Mark to explain different intonation patterns that might be used to express strong emotions, such as anger, bitterness, fear, or guilt. Correct him or provide further explanations if necessary. Step 2: Listening Discrimination. Find several excerpts of a movie or TV show in which there are strong emotions expressed. Play very short clips for Mark, using the audio only (no video), so that he has little context to guess the situation from and must guess the emotion through intonation only. Step 3: Controlled Practice. Give Mark a handout with several imperative sentences written on it. (Examples: Turn the lights off. Don't talk to me right now. Get me a blanket.) List several emotions you want Mark to express using each sentence and changing the intonation to make the sentence match the new emotion. (Examples: Fear, Anger, Disgust, Annoyance, Intimidation). Step 4: Guided Practice. Give Mark a dialogue with words that clearly express strong emotions. (Examples: I can't believe you cheated on me! After 20 years together, is this what I deserve??) First, record him reading the dialogue with no emotion; then play it back for him so that he can feel how silly it is to hear such strong words spoken in an emotionless way. Next, record him reading the dialogue with more expressive intonation. Listen to the recording and discuss the differences in intonation between the emotionless recording and the emotional recording.



Step 5: Communicative Practice. Create a situation in which Mark can role play with the teacher or another student and express strong emotion. (Example: The teacher or the other student is the child, and Mark is the parent. The child has just stolen something from a store, and Mark is very angry.) Conclusion Improving pronunciation in a second language is a life-long journey for most learners. Mark is no exception. Though he has already made enough progress in his English pronunciation to be intelligible, his career goals have given him the motivation to keep perfecting his pronunciation. Thus, he can now turn his attention to more nuanced aspects of NAE pronunciation. The recommendations I have made based on my analysis of his current level of pronunciation will be an excellent way for him to begin working more specifically toward his goal of sounding more like a native NAE speaker. In addition, this study has raised interesting questions about what advanced Mandarin L1 speakers could focus on in their pronunciation learning after they have already acquired many basic English pronunciation abilities and have reached the point of intelligibility. In the future, this study could be refined and expanded in the following ways. First, the listening tasks administered need to be further tested for validity by administering them to many more native NAE speakers. Then, once valid tasks have been developed, they should be given to other advanced Mandarin L1 speakers, along with more focused speaking tasks. In particular, tasks focused on attempting to elicit connected speech were not included in this present study and could make this research stronger. Once more data is collected, the results could then be analyzed to develop a pronunciation syllabus that is specifically designed for advanced Mandarin



L1 learners. This would be particularly helpful for university-level English majors and for EFL Chinese teachers in training who desire to gain more native-like NAE pronunciation.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT References: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Mandarin phonemic inventory. Retrieved from MandarinPhonemicInventory.pdf Armstrong, E. (n.d.). Vowels. Retrieved from Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (n.d.). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer. Retrieved from


Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Goodwin, J. M. (2010). Teaching pronunciation: A course book and reference guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Defense Language Institute. (1974). A contrastive study of English and Mandarin Chinese. Retrieved from Chinese%20Mandarin/Advanced%20Chinese/A%20Contrastive%20Study%20of%20En glish%20and%20Mandarin%20Chinese.pdf George Mason University. (2013, December 18). The speech accent archive. Retrieved from Kelly, G. (2000). How to teach pronunciation. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited. TPO Xiaozhan. (2013). TPO 小站托福 1 对 1 保分课程. Retrieved from

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix A Casual conversation between the author and Mark with key intonation and prominence points


highlighted and a sample IPA transcription. Sentences analyzed for intonation and prominence points are highlighted in purple. The /↑/ symbol is used when a word has raised intonation. The /˩/ symbol is used to show that a word has a falling intonation. Prominent words are highlighted in green. Intonation contours for selected passages are shown. Intonation contours were created with Praat (Boersma & Weenink, n.d.). Mark (M): Um, do you know there is a kind of ↑fencing | um | world ↑cup? | In our ↑school, ↑yesterday? | It's not yesterday, on Saturday and ˩Monday. Saturday and ˩Sunday. [Intonation contour is below.]

Angel (A): I didn't see it, no. Fencing? M: Yeah, ˩fencing. Yes, fencing women | saber, do you know ↑saber? [Intonation contour is below.]



A: Yeah M: Women's saber competition and I am the announce... the announcer in that competition and I read something wrong because I read English and that person's name is um, um, Mariel Zegunas. A: Oh, so international students were there? M: Yeah, international. That is the champion in the 2000 and 12 London Olympics. A: Really? At our school? M: It's not in our school, it's from the United States. A: I know, but he came here to our school? M: Yeah, to our school to compete in a kind of fencing women's saber individual grand prix. A: Huh, I had no idea! M: But I read her name as it is written. It's written uh, Zegunas, Mariel, so yeah, so um, some foreigners told me, "No, you read her name wrong, you should read, Mariel Zegunas." A: What's her first name? M: Mariel [/ˈmɑɹiəl/] or Mariel [/mɑˈɹiəl/], I don't know. M-a-r-i-e-l A: M-a-r...

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT M: M-a-r-i-e-l A: I don't know. Yeah, maybe, Mariel [/ˈmɛɹiəl/]. M: Mariel [/ˈmɛɹiəl/]... A: I've never heard of that name before. From the United States?


M: From the United ˩States. Mariel [/ˈmɛɹiəl/] ˩Zegunas ˩maybe. But you usually write your family name at the beginning, right? [In this sentence, "right" was neither raised nor strongly lowered. The sentence was closest to a "tag question eliciting agreement" (Celce-Murcia et al., 2010, p. 234). See intonation contour below.]

A: No, no, no. That's the Chinese way. M: But they gave me a kind of name list, and they put their family name at the first place, so I read it in that way. And uh... A: Sometimes we might have some official lists in English that will have it that way, but there will be a comma. Was there a comma in between? M: There's no cam, comma, but there's, they capitalized the family name. A: Yeah, of course it will always be capitalized, yeah. M: The capitalize is always the family name, ↓right?

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT [This sentence was definitely spoken in a "tag question eliciting agreement" intonation. I was unable to get a clear recording of this line since I responded to him too quickly, covering over the final "right" in the intonation contour.] A: Yeah, in English, we always capitalize any proper name. You know that, right?


M: Okay, so. Actually, it's very hard for me to read their name, especially for some...United States name is easier compared to some, some, some people who from Russia, or Poland, or Romania, or even Iran. So it's very...I just guessed at the pronunciation of it. And uh, I think that they even cannot understand their name uh, before I read their country's name. Maybe I said, "Somebody from Poland," and they come forward to, you know, to salute the audience. So maybe that my pronunciation is wrong that they can't understand their name's pronunciation, so I'm sorry for that. [See the end of this appendix for sample transcription and intonation contour.] A: Yeah, that's difficult. Did you get the list in advance? M: Uh, yes. In a very short time. So I just have to guess the pronunciation. A: That's my only suggestion in the future if you have to do that, to try to search on the internet for some pronunciation. Do you know IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet? M: Uh, yeah? A: I think you know it. So um, if you have time, you can, you know, find, maybe listen to it or something and write down the pronunciation, the IPA pronunciation, but I think if you got it too late, you have no time to do that. M: Yes. I think that for some people's name from Iran, they don't have pronunciation at all, on the internet maybe. A: Oh, I don't know. Um, but maybe, maybe. I think, yeah, I know of some, like, name websites, and they have all kinds of languages, not just, like, English names but also Arabic or um, even Chinese names. Some of them, I think if they do not have the sound you can listen to, maybe they will at least have the IPA written. M: Okay. | So it's interesting for me. | I learned some of the fencing | vocabulary like ˩saber, ˩foil, ˩individual, ˩team. So it's very interesting experience. [Intonation contour is below.]



A: And you got to watch them compete? M: Yes. Sometimes it's very boring because I don't know too much uh, fencing, so it's very professional competition, I think. It's very, very, very professional sport because they usually have a lot of controversies between the fencers and the judges. So um, they usually sometimes have some, a lot of argument. Sample Transcription IPA symbols are used to transcribe both the segmental and suprasegmental pronunciation of the following excerpt of Mark's casual conversation. The primary stress symbol /ˈ/ is used to indicate the primary word of prominence in each thought group. Where applicable, the secondary stress symbol /ˌ/ indicates a secondarily prominent word in the thought group. Actually, it's very hard for me to read their name, especially for some...United States ˈæktʃəli | ɪts veɪɹi ˈhɑɹd | fəɹ‿mi tʉ ɹiːd ðeɪɹ ↑ˈneɪm | ɪsˈpeʃəli fəɹ ˌsʌm ǁ juːˈnaɪ(d)əd ˌsteɪ(t)s name is easier compared to some, some, some people who from Russia, or Poland, neɪm‿ɪz | ˌiːzːsiɚ kəmˈpeɪɹd tʉ sʌm | sː sʌm‿sʌm pip(ə)l‿huː‿fɹʌm ˈɹːʌʃə | ɔɹ | ɔɹ ˈpøʊlənd | or Romania, even Iran. So it's very...I just guessed at the pronunciation of it. ɔɹ ɹoʊˈmeɪniə | ɔɹ iv(ə)n iˈɹæn ǁ soʊw‿ɪts ˈveɪɹi | ˈaɪ jʌs ˌgɛsd ət | ðə pɹənʌnc(i)ˈeɪʃən əv ɪt̚ ǁ

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT And uh, I think that they even cannot understand their name uh, before I read ænd ə aɪ θɪn(k) ðæt̚ ðeɪ ˌivən kæn(ə)̚t ʌ(n)dəɹstæand ðəɹ ˈ↑neɪm ǁ ʌ biˈfɔɹ I | ˈɹɛd | their country's name. Maybe I said, "Somebody from Poland," and they come forward ðəɹ ˈkʌntɹiz‿neɪm | meɪbi‿aɪ‿ˈsɛd | s‿sʌmbədi fɹʌm ˈpøʊlənd | æn ˈðeɪ | cʌm ˈfɔɹwərd to, you know, to salute the audience. So maybe that my pronunciation is wrong that they can't tø‿ʃ | j‿noʊ tə səlut̚ thi ˈɒːdiəns ǁ soʊ meɪbi ðæt̚ maɪ pɹənʌnc(i)ˈeɪʃən(ɪ)z ↑ˈɹɔŋ ðæt̚ ðeɪ kænt̚ understand their name's pronunciation, so I'm sorry for that (laughs). ʌ(n)dəɹstæand ðəɹ neɪmz pɹənʌnc(i)ˈeɪʃən | soʊw‿aɪm ˈsɑɚi fɔɹ ˌðæt




Sentences with minimal pairs listening discrimination task given to both Mark and a native NAE speaker. The correct answers are highlighted in blue. Mark's answers are bold. The native NAE speaker's answers are italicized.

Directions: Which underlined word do you hear on the recording? Circle the word you hear. 1. There was an ugly bull / bowl in the corner. 2. He wanted to sell / sail the boat. 3. That's the biggest wheel / whale I've ever seen! 4. Susan is going to buy some soap / soup. 5. He gave me a hug / hog. 6. She stuck the pin / pen in her hair. 7. This room is full of cots / cats. 8. It's very withered / weathered. 9. The man / men will come soon. 10. I'd like to see that chick / check. 11. That's my luck / lock! 12. They spun / spin around. 13. I fell over the rock / rack. 14. They lift / left weights at the gym. 15. He looked at her eyes / ice. 16. They've already filed / fired them. 17. They're beginning to leave / leaf.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT 18. It was at the end of the wall / war. 19. He's gone to a get a cab / cap. 20. Do you have the time / dime? 21. The wary / very cold kitten looked sad. 22. These pants will make you feel thick / sick. 23. What's the price / prize for the competition?


Mark's results: Missed 3; 20/23 correct = 86.96% Native speaker's results: Missed 1; 22/23 correct = 95.65%

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix C Listening dictation activity from Celce-Murcia et al. (2010) table of minimal pairs with high


functional load (p. 471) in which the listener heard a recording and wrote down the words they thought they heard. Mark's answers, the native NAE speaker's answers, and the correct answers are listed. Incorrect answers are highlighted in purple. Correct Answer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. bet bat pack back bat but pan fan hat hot some sun hut hot number lumber bed bid led red met mate Mark's Answer bet bite pack back bat but pan fan hat hot some sun hut hot number lumber bed bid red red met mate Native NAE Speaker's debt bat pack back that but pan fan hat hot some sun hut hot number lumber bed bid led red met mate

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. time dime come gum wary very hot height sue zoo leave live time dime come gum weary (could be spelling, not listening mistake) very hut hight (spelling mistake, not listening mistake) soon zoo leave live bury (since many native NAE speakers pronounce these words the same, this is not considered a true mistake) very time dime come gum wary very hot height sue zoo leave live








Mark's results: Missed 4; 32/36 correct = 88.89% Native speaker's results: Missed 2; 34/36 correct = 94.44%

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix D Comparison of Mark's answers and correct answers from TOEFL practice listening exercises


(TPO Xiaozhan, 2013). The first exercise involved listening to a conversation between a student and a librarian about how to find research articles. The second exercise involved listening to part of a professor's lecture in an art class about an artist's work The full questions and answer choices are listed below the table for questions Mark answered incorrectly. The correct choice is highlighted in blue. Mark's incorrect answer is highlighted in purple. 1. Correct Answers D Mark's Answers C Author Comments Mark may have made this mistake if he thought the phrasal verb "check out" meant to look at or find. He may not be familiar with the meaning of the phrase associated with libraries.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.



The lecture did mention A, B, and C. I also found this question difficult to answer. In the end, I guessed the correct answer, but I can easily understand why Mark might have chosen A or B for this question. I was able to answer this question correctly immediately. Although the lecturer did talk about answer D's topic right after talking about answer B's topic, it was clear in the lecture that the two topics were distinct.

7. 8. 9.



10. B 11. A


1. Why does the student go to see the librarian? A. To sign up for a seminar on using electronic sources B. To report that a journal is missing from the reference area C. To find out the procedure for checking out journal articles D. To ask about how to look for resources for a class paper

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT 6. What is the purpose of the lesson? A. To explain the difference between two artistic styles B. To describe a new art gallery to the class C. To introduce an artist's work to the class D. To show how artists' styles can evolve over time 9. What does the professor imply about the painting of the young woman surrounded by pumpkins? A. It was painted at an art fair B. It combines Impressionism with Realism C. It convinced Frantzen that she was a good illustrator D. It was originally meant to be used in an advertisement Mark's results: Missed 3; 8/11 correct = 72.73%


PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix E Suprasegmental listening discrimination tasks given to both Mark and a native NAE speaker.


The correct answers are highlighted in blue. Mark's answers are bold. The native NAE speaker's answers are italicized.

Part I - Directions: Write whether each sentence is a question (Q) or statement (S) based on the intonation you hear. 1. He left already 2. Sally's moving ____S_____ ____Q_____ ____S____ ____Q____

3. John missed his flight 4. It's snowing in Miami

5. Your aunt's coming from Canada next week ___Q____ 6. Dinner will be at 5:00 ____S_____ Mark's results: Missed 0; 6/6 correct = 100% Native speaker's results: Missed 0; 6/6 correct = 100% Part II - Directions: Write whether each question is sure (S) or unsure (U) based on the intonation you hear. (Sure = the speaker is already sure of the answer; Unsure = the speaker is not sure of the answer) 1. Your name's George, isn't it? 3. You wanted to go, didn't you? ____U_____ _____U____ ____S____ ____S_U___

2. It's going to rain tomorrow, isn't it? 4. We should offer to help, shouldn't we? 6. Mark is coming for dinner, isn't he?

5. You have class tomorrow, right? ___S_U___ ____U_____

Mark's results: Missed 2; 4/6 correct = 66.67% Native speaker's results: Missed 1; 5/6 correct = 83.33%



Part III - Directions: In the following section, each question will be followed by two possible answers. Circle the best answer to the question based on the intonation of the question that you hear in the recording. 1. Are you coming Friday or Saturday? a. I'm coming Friday. b. No, sorry, I have to work all weekend. 2. Can you meet us at 8:00 or 9:00? a. 9:00 is better for me. b. How about 10:00? 3. Would you like coffee or tea? a. Tea, please. b. No thanks, just water for me. 4. Are you going to Spain or Portugal? a. Portugal. b. Yes, we want to see as much of Europe as possible this summer. Mark's results: Missed 0; 4/4 correct = 100% Native speaker's results: Missed 1; 3/4 correct = 75% Part IV - Directions: Listen to the intonation of the question in each of these short conversations and try to decide which answer from Partner 1 should come next. Circle the best answer for each situation based on the intonation that you hear. 1. Partner 1 - I'm going to California next week. Partner 2 - Where? a. California b. San Francisco 2. Partner 1 - I tried to call you last night. Partner 2 - When? a. Last night b. Around 9:00 3. Partner 1 - My mother works in an office. Partner 2 - What does she do?

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT a. She works in an office. b. She's a receptionist. 4. Partner 1 - Richard left a gift for you. Partner 2 - What? a. I said, Richard left a gift for you. b. I don't know. I didn't open it. Mark's results: Missed 0; 4/4 correct = 100% Native speaker's results: Missed 1; 3/4 correct = 75%


Part V - Directions: Listen to the following words and underline the syllable that has the greatest stress. 1. untie 2. understand 3. discuss 4. expect 5. foresight 6. underdog 7. threaten 8. engineer 9. prospective 10. anthropology 11. realize 12. reality 13. realistic 14. thirty 15. thirteen 16. thirteen

Mark's results: Missed 0; 16/16 correct = 100% Native speaker's results: Missed 3; 13/16 correct = 81.25% Part VI - Directions: Listen to the following sentences and underline which syllable in the sentence has the greatest stress on it. 1. John's car is white. 2. John's car is white. 3. John's car is white. 4. John's car is white. 5. John's car is white. Mark's results: Missed 0; 5/5 correct = 100% Native speaker's results: Missed 0; 5/5 correct = 100%



Part VII - Directions: The following dialogue has been divided for you into "thought units." Each thought unit will have a prominent stressed word (a word stressed more than any other word in the thought unit. Listen to the following dialogue and circle the word that has the greatest stress in each thought unit. A: I'm starved. / Let's go grab a bite to eat. B: Good idea. / Where do you want to go? A: Well, / there's a nice Italian restaurant / about a block from here. B: Do you have your heart set on Italian? / What about a Chinese place? A: Oh, / do you know one? B: I sure do. / The food is delicious / and it's right around the corner. A: Great! / Let's go!

Mark's results: Missed 6; 10/16 correct = 62.5% Native speaker's results: Missed 6; 10/16 correct = 62.5%

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix F Intonation practice worksheet from Celce-Murcia et al. (2010, p. 266) followed by intonation


contours created in Praat (Boersma & Weenink, n.d.) for Mark's recordings and recordings from a female NAE native speaker.

 Situation 1: Both A and B are male. They are friends and are approximately the same age. A is pleased to hear that his friend is back from his trip.  Situation 2: Both A and B are female. A is B's mother. She's a bit upset that her daughter hasn't bothered to call her since returning from her trip.  Situation 3: A is male; B is female. A and Be have been in a serious relationship for over a year now. He's slightly older than she is, and tends to be the jealous type. He's furious that she didn't call him immediately upon her return from her trip.

Dialogue:  A: So you're back from your trip?  B: Yes, I got back two days ago.  A: Nice of you to call. I hadn't expected to hear from you so soon.  B: Oh well, I thought I'd just call and see how you were doing.  A: Fine, just fine.

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Mark's Intonation for Situation 1:


Female NAE Native Speaker's Intonation for Situation 1:

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Mark's Intonation for Situation 2:


Female NAE Native Speaker's Intonation for Situation 2:

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Mark's Intonation for Situation 3:


Female NAE Native Speaker's Intonation for Situation 3:

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix G Diagnostic passage from Celce-Murcia et al. (2010, p. 481) with key points in Mark's


pronunciation highlighted. Occasional transcription is used to indicate deviations from standard NAE speech. Intonation contours for Mark and a native NAE male speaker are included.

Is English your native langːuage? If not, your foreign accent may show people that you cʌm ̚ from another country. Why is it difficult to speak a foreign langːuage without an accent? There are a couple of answers to this question. First, age is an important factor in learning to pronounce. We know that young children can learn a second langːuage with perfect pronunciation. We also know that older learners usually have an accent, though some older individuals also have learned to sp ̚ iːk without an accent. Another factor that influences your pronunciation is your first language. English speakers kæːn, for example, recognize people from France [pronounced as /fɹɛns/] by their French accents. They can also ideːntify Spanish or Arabic speakers over the telephone, just by listening carefully to them. Does this mean that accents can't [pronounced as /kæn/] be tʃeɪːndʒd? Not at all! But you can't [pronounced as /kæn/] change your pronunciation without a lot of hard work. In the end, improving apʰiːrs to be a combination of three things: concentrated hard work [falling intonation], a good ear [even more forceful falling intonation], and a strong ambition to sound like a native speaker [falling intonation]. You also need æːccurate information about English sounds, effective strategies for practice, lots of exposure to spoken English, and patience. Will you [word almost eliminated] make progress, or will you [word almost eliminated] give up? Only time will tell, I'm afraid. But it's your decision. You can improve! [no exclamatory intonation used] Good luck, and don't forget to work hard.



PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Male NAE Native Speaker's Intonation Contour:


PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Appendix H Passage from the Speech Accent Archive transcribed with Mark's pronunciation. Intonation contours are included from Mark and four NAE native speakers found in the archive.


Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow ̆ ɚ | fɹʌm ðə ↑ˈstɔɹ ǁ ˈsɪks sponz‿əv pʰliz cɔˑl ˈstɛːlə | ˈæsk hɜɹ tʉ ˌbɹɪŋˑ | ˈðiːz θɪŋz wɪðh ̥ fɹɛʃ snoʊ peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also ˌ˦pʰiːz | ˌfaɪv θɪk ˈsˑlæb ̚ blʉ ˦͡tʃiːz | æn meɪbi ə ˌ↑snæːk fɔɹ hɚ bɹʌðɚ ˈ↑bɑb ǁ wɪ‿ɑlso ̥ s əv need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things nid ə ˌ↑smɔːl ˈ˦pʰlæːstɪk ˦snæːk | æn ə ˈbɪg ̚ tʰɔɪ ˌfɹɔːg ̚ | fɔɹ ðə ˈkʰɪ̥ d ̥ z ǁ ʃiː kən ˈskʰʉːp | ˈðiːz θɪːŋˑz into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station. ̚ bæks | æn ˈwiː wɪl goʊː miːɾ ɚ ˌwɛnzdeɪ | æɾ‿ðə ˈtʰɹeɪːn steɪʃən ɪntuˑ θɹiːˌɹɛd

Mark's Intonation Contour:

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Intonation Contour of "english 51," a native NAE male speaker from Detroit:


Intonation Contour of "english 107," a native NAE male speaker from Chicago:

PRONUNCIATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Intonation Contour of "english 173," a native NAE male speaker from Libertyville, IL:


Intonation Contour of "english 165," a native NAE female speaker from Detroit: