Proceedings of the Xth Conference, Helsinki 2008
Edited By Martti Vainio, Reijo Aulanko and Olli Aaltonen
12. A multilingual 3D vowel chart for monophthongs based on formants 117
A MULTILINGUAL 3D VOWEL CHART FOR MONOPHTHONGS BASED ON FORMANTS Toshiko Isei-Jaakkola Takatoshi Naka Keikichi Hirose 1 Introduction In the area of applied phonetics, how to teach and where to start teaching English pronunciation depends on the foreign learner’s level of English. In general, text- books on English phonetics are written based on a bottom-up graded system as follows: phoneme (vowels, consonants) word compound word phrase sentence (clause) passage (paragraph). Top-down graded teaching may emphasise prosodic teaching based on rhythm and timing. However, this is a time-consuming matter related to fluency that does not guarantee an improvement in pronunciation as a whole. Often the main reason for this is a lack of basic training such as the correct acquisition of phonemes. Phonemes are very basic when starting to learn a language and should be taught correctly utilising symbols at all level. A language teacher knows from experience that mastering vowels is extremely important, especially for such learners of English (L2) as the Japanese, because the number of vowels is very limited in this language. 1.1 Previous studies of vowel charts The IPA vowel chart is extensively used for training learners of English. The IPA vowel chart has a two-dimensional quadrilateral shape, approved after much de- liberation pertaining to historical variations, and illustrates abstract vowel location. However, as is well known, it suffers from a number of shortcomings. Although it shows lip spreading, lip openness, and tongue height, it fails to illustrate lip protrusion and rounding. Nevertheless, it is still actually...
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