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Phonetic Difficulty Index (PDI) is an algorithm phonetically transcribing orthographic text and tagging it with sixty-one expected pronunciation error tags: phonemic, graphophonemic, allophonic, morphological, accentual, sandhi, etc. The resulting resource can be used for learning, teaching, testing, materials preparation, textbook evaluation, dictionary compilation, syllabus design and in many other capacities in EFL pronunciation pedagogy. In this presentation we show examples of how PDI can be used in (i) phonolapsologically analyzing and evaluating graded readers (Reading A-Z) targeting native American children, but adaptable for EFL, (ii) providing well-defined resources to help meet IFA pronunciation syllabus goals, such as "the student should know the phonemic shape of words within a basic English vocabulary, including word stress"

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  • You should mention that this does not HAVE to look so. This dump is a rather repelling sight to a typical windows-user 
  • RA-Z is an acronym for Reading from level A to Z. a set of more than a thousand books for American schoolers. This screenshot presents the electronic version of the books available along with the print-out versions which have been the subject of our analyses. Out of the books available on 26 levels, categorised according to the letters of the alphabet plus some additional ones such as nursery rhymes, poetry books or vocabulary books, we have been granted access to the so called graded books, grade G to X, i.e. early school age. Unfortunately, we have no permission to study other types of books such as read aloud books, which – if PDI-zed, would certainly benefit EFL users phonetically.
  • RAZ library is not limited to English. It has books in American English, British English, French and Spanish. We have analysed the American books. This, considering the dominance of British English in Polish education, allows for phonetic contrasts between the two standards. RA-Z books were written with the American reader in mind. However, ESL and EFL learners also benefit from them. Taking into account the fact that PDI operates on the British Oxford dictionary lexicon, this opportunity to contrast English cross-Atlantically seems extremely promising for our phonetic goals. And as Professor Sobkowiak will explain in greater detail, these texts meet most IFA guidelines for phonetics teaching. First of all, these are authentic materials with fine grained-levels of semantic and syntactic difficulty combined with phonetic difficulty grading.
  • Which is shown on this graph. PDI confirms that these books demonstrate a steady, though uneven, growth in the phonetic difficulty across as many as 18 levels. PDI allows to identify phonetically most tricky levels. Obviously, application-wise it might be necessary to specify which particular books carry the stigma of some specific phonetic problems, such as a high number of occurrences of ‘th’ or ough’ phonograms. PDI does that as well.
  • 18 levels and 317 analysed texts produce a rough picture of RAZ phonetic difficulty. As can be easily seen some texts on low sematic-syntactic level of difficulty (which means low RAZ level, i.e. to the left of the chart) are quite high as far as phonetic difficulty is concerned (vertically). This arrangement facilitates the process of text selection or materials design to the point when phonetics teachers could create lists of texts for practising specific texts for individual students.
  • Here is the phonolapsological profile of the RAZ corpus as compared against MEDAL and Brown. The selection of these two reference corpora is naturally not coincidental. MEDAL is a corpus that bears a number of similarities with RA-Z corpus, some of them are the encyclopedic style of writing, addressing learner needs and controlled language use. The choice of Brown is to some extent opportunistic: as no large corpus of general English has ever been phonolapsologically processed . However, it is commonly used as point of reference in corpus studies as one of the 'classic' low-level learner corpora and  it is a corpus of American English, exactly like RA‑Z. Also MEDAL definitions have already been PDI-analysed by Professor Sobkowiak, and this has been very useful for our research. A glance at the chart reveals some surprises. MEDAL learner’s dictionary definitions might be expected to constitute a phonetically more challenging type of text than RAZ books for school children. T he American RA-Z corpus is about one third of the classic Brown corpus containing a million words. And yet RAZ has an almost identical phonetic profile as the other two EFL learner corpora.
  • Naturally, the fact that these texts have a rising phonetic difficulty, does not necessarily imply using them with adults. And yet, there is still another aspect that promotes such use. Regardless of their being books for early schoolers, these books present a variety of topics, that even IFA students might be interested in. Books on politics, genetics, famous people or events in history, of which random examples are listed on the screen.
  • This slide shows that even low level books may be used for phonetics training, Here for voicing practice. Ten slajd wykosić?
  • Naturally, using such texts for focus on particular phonetic elements depends on the IFA specific guidelines or individual student’s needs. Yet, as can be seen, the potential for phonetics training is extensive. This text covers a number of interesting phonetics aspects that are surely worth training, such as the words with ou/ow or words such as AIR, LARGE, TURN, WHERE.
  • Some difficulties occur more frequently than others, naturally. The most frequent one PDI(J) is indirectly related to the morphological criteria in that the more complex the word (length in syllables, compounding, secondary stress) the higher the chance of unstressed schwas occurring in the relatively many weak syllables. Schwa is one of the most typical pronuncing problems among Polish EFL learners and is heavily represented in the RAZ corpus. Considering a high frequency of occurrence of a limited selection of words with a schwa and voiced word-final obstruents in RAZ books, on skillful text selection (which means PDI-driven selection) the reader may be exposed to schwa- or word-final voiced obstruent-loaded texts covering words from the high frequency vocabulary pool. This may facilitate raising phonetics awareness and acquisition.
  • Selecting texts with a combination of these highly frequent aspects of phonetics may produce even more interesting findings. Bigrams involving short schwa PDI(J) are on the top of the list of most frequent codegrams in RAZ books. At the same time the word examples are words that many EFL students have problems with and their high occurrence in RAZ texts may facilitate noticing the schwa, especially in combination with word-final voicing PDI(JZ) or schwa with voiced apico-dentals PDI(JL). Similarly, PDI(J0), i.e. schwa and British vs American pronunciation patterns may well serve exercises involving high frequency basic vocabulary. Even though only f ive word types are responsible for exactly half of the incidence of PDI(J0) in RA‑Z: for, or, water, over , were, in frequency order , awareness that only these words will be encoutered by the student while reading may facilitate evaluation procedure by providing the teacher with a list of focus words available and a selection of sentences including as many words from the focal list as feasible. Tu przydałoby się pokazać zdanie z czymś takim.
  • This slide demonstrates visually the frequency of words including PDI(JZ), which stands for schwa and final voicing, a potential trap for most Polish readers of English texts. As one can see in RAZ the most frequent words with this difficult point are AROUND, TOWARD, COVERED, RIVERS, HOURS and KILOMETERS, i.e. basic level words, which in the context of what Professor Sobkowiak will say is a crucial point.
  • From the perspective of individual RA-Z texts and sentences, rather than levels, it is possible to locate local maxima for a given PDI code. There are, for example, 46 records in the RA-Z corpus, longer than one word, where each word ends in a voiced obstruent, thus getting the PDI(N) tag. Six of these records contain more than three words, thus constituting local word-final-devoicing maxima.
  • Co z przecinkami w tekście?
  • PDI of RAZ

    1. 1. IFA, EFL, RA-Z, PDI: phonolapsological annotation for teaching pronunciation Włodzimierz Sobkowiak Wiesława Ferlacka
    2. 2. Presentation outline: <ul><li>PDI </li></ul><ul><li>RA-Z </li></ul><ul><li>PDI of RA-Z </li></ul><ul><li>IFA p ronunciation syllabus </li></ul><ul><li>PDI of RA-Z for IFA p ronunciation syllabus </li></ul><ul><li>Further applications </li></ul>
    3. 3. PDI - summary <ul><li>The PDI algorithm: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>phonetically transcribes English orthographic text , </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>automatically extracts and tags the most commonly encountered pronouncing problems by Polish learners of English , </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>generates a phonolapsological profile of the text. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The resulting PDI index contains: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quantitative difficulty level information, with the range of 0-11, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>qualitative difficulty tags in the form of 61 PDI codes, each for one specific Polglish pronunciation problem. </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. PDI - sample of tagged text
    5. 5. RA-Z e-library
    6. 6. RA-Z library <ul><li>English ( plus French and Spanish ) </li></ul><ul><li>based on research into reading and learning </li></ul><ul><li>addresses the needs of American and ESL children and homeschoolers </li></ul><ul><li>also popular among EFL educators </li></ul><ul><li>takes readers’ feedback into account (worldwide consultancy) </li></ul><ul><li>many fine-grained levels of difficulty </li></ul>
    7. 7. Mean PDI/word over 18 RA-Z levels
    8. 8. Mean PDI/word over 317 RA-Z texts
    9. 9. PDI in three corpora
    10. 10. Topics of interest in RA-Z texts <ul><li>Politics (A run for presidency, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Genetics (What makes you you, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Famous Americans (Rosa Parks, Louis Armstrong, George Washington, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Places of interest (Mount Rushmore, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Customs (Halloween, Xmas, New Year’s Eve celebrations, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Legends (How zebras got their stripes, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Social issues (slavery, immigration, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Historical events (transcontinental railway, etc.) </li></ul>
    11. 11. A sample RA-Z book – level G
    12. 12. A sample RA-Z book – level R
    13. 13. F requent PDI codes in RA‑Z <ul><li>PDI(J) - schwa </li></ul><ul><li>PDI(Z) - word-final voiced obstruent </li></ul><ul><li>PDI(0) - British≠American </li></ul><ul><li>PDI(*) - no phonetic difficulty </li></ul>
    14. 14. Frequent PDI codegrams in RA-Z 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 No used, lived, named 1777 rZ all, also, small, almost 2556 Y0 with, these, those 2569 LZ have, his, hand, whose 5476 UZ for, or, water , over, were, 8136 J0 the, that, them, than 22208 JL of, and, as, was 22399 JZ word examples RA-Z codegram
    15. 15. Wordle ® of PDI(JZ) in RA-Z
    16. 16. Some pronunciation goals in the IFA EFL syllabus <ul><li>Know the phonemic shape of words within a basic English vocabulary, including word stress. </li></ul><ul><li>Be able to recognize all the phonemic contrasts of English perceptively, and to implement them in their own production. </li></ul><ul><li>Show an understanding of the allophony of English phonemes in perception and an ability to implement it in production. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a perceptive awareness of selected English connected speech processes [...] and an ability to use them in their own speech. </li></ul><ul><li>The materials should be carefully selected for content and form </li></ul>
    17. 17. 1. Know the phonemic shape of words within a basic English vocabulary . ALL attested sentences of RA-Z (>3 words) with the maximum score for PDI(Z): all words end in voiced obstruents. text id RA-Z record (sentence) H01 Male s ha ve lar ge antler s H07 Sna g snee zes an d snee zes K16 Reptile s an d amphibian s ha ve backbon es N14 Kind s o f s nail s an d s lu gs Q06 Buildin gs an d bri dges destroy ed W04 Camel s cactu ses an d san d dun es
    18. 18. 2. Be able to recognize all the phonemic contrasts of English perceptively, and to implement them in their own production A sentence with 14 occurrences of PDI(0), British≠American , 73 words, PDI/word=1.8. When he crossed pea plants with other pea plants possessing opposite traits , like short with tall or smooth-seeded with wrinkled-seeded , he discovered that the resulting plant always looked like one or the other rather than like a mix of both .
    19. 19. 3. Show an understanding of the allophony of English phonemes in perception and an ability to implement it in production <ul><li>Two sentences of RA-Z with 8 aspirated stops each: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spain's k ing forced Mexicans to p ay t axes and the k ings harsh actions c aused many Mexicans who hadn't t aken p art in the revolution to now t urn against Spain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15 to 2 c ups p umpkin seeds, 2 t easpoons melted butter, salt to t aste (about a t easpoon). </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. 4. Have a perceptive awareness of selected English connected speech processes [...] and an ability to use them in their own speech. <ul><li>All RA-Z sentences with linking /r/ and PDI/word<1: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ants a re i nsects. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;I will go fo r a bike ride&quot;, he says. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now wheneve r I look at this tree, it'll remind me of Grandpa. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From the re I can get back on a big boat. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Other PDI applications for IFA phonetics training: diagnosis & treatment <ul><li>PDI can be used on any text: classic corpora, learner corpora (incl. PICLE, student-generated texts, web content, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>Texts can be quite easily annotated to highlight the focal spots of pronouncing difficulty and enhanced with appropriate resources (glossaries, exercises, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>PDI can be used as a tool for individualised phonetic diagnosis and remedial treatment. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Other PDI applications for IFA phonetics training: resources <ul><li>PDI can be used to evaluate and possibly revise the existing IFA pronunciation syllabus and resource/materials list. </li></ul><ul><li>PDI can be used for phonetic test preparation and evaluation. </li></ul><ul><li>PDI can feed into TTS to produce Polglish accented speech (Sobkowiak in press: PLM'07) </li></ul>
    23. 23. For more... <ul><li>On PDI: </li></ul><ul><li>http:// ifa.amu.edu.pl /~ swlodek / public.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http:// ifa.amu.edu.pl /~ swlodek / SobkFerl.pps </li></ul><ul><li>http:// ifa.amu.edu.pl /~ swlodek /cuv3.html </li></ul><ul><li>http:// ifa.amu.edu.pl /~ swlodek /PLM07.htm </li></ul><ul><li>On RA-Z: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.readinga-z.com </li></ul><ul><li>On PDI of RA-Z: </li></ul><ul><li>Sobkowiak & Ferlacka, book in preparation </li></ul>