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    Durational variation in Polish fricatives provides evidence for hybrid models of phonology
    (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association, 2019-08-22) Kaźmierski, Kamil
    The neighborhood density of a word is the number of words that sound similar to it. Phonotactic probability is a measure of how typical (for a given language) the phoneme sequences in a word are. These two factors are known to affect speech perception in opposing directions: high neighborhood density slows down processing while high phonotactic probability speeds it up [30]. This finding supports hybrid models of phonological representation [24], as neighborhood density effects operate on lexical, and phonotactic probability effects on sublexical representations. The present paper, investigating word-initial double clusters retrieved from the Greater Poland Spoken Corpus [14], tests the predictions for durational variation in fricatives following from Vitevitch and Luce [30]. It has been found that high neighborhood density is associated with longer - while high phonotactic probability with shorter - fricative durations. Thus, further support for hybrid models of phonological storage is provided.
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    The relationship between gender identity and six f0 measures in Polish
    (University of Glasgow, 2015) Kaźmierski, Kamil
    This paper reports on a study of the relationship between gender identity, as measured by the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) and six characteristics of F0 (mean, median, minimum, maximum, range and standard deviation) in semi-spontaneous speech of 24 Polish female speakers. Despite ample evidence suggesting that gender identity exerts an influence on voice quality, notably on pitch, whose main acoustic correlate is F0, the statistical analysis of the data gathered for the present study does not attest to a relationship between the BSRI score and F0 measures. An elaboration of culture-specific tool for measuring gender identity, as well as supplementing acoustic measurements with physiological and articulatory data are suggested as methodological developments needed to verify whether there are links between gender identity and F0 in Polish.
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    Automatic English phoneme recognition from articulatory data generated by EPG systems with grid and anatomical layout of contact sensors
    (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc., 2019-08-22) Krynicki, Grzegorz; Dziubalska-Kołaczyk, Katarzyna; Weckwerth, Jarosław; Michalski, Grzegorz; Kaźmierski, Kamil; Maciejewska, Barbara; Wiskirska-Woźnica, Bożena; Żygis, Marzena; Kuczko, Wiesław; Sekuła, Alicja
    The aim of the study was to conduct automatic phoneme identification from articulatory data that accompanied the production of these phonemes in continuous speech. The articulatory data were obtained from 2 electropalatographic systems, Palatometer by Complete Speech and Linguagraph by Rose-Medical. Palatometer was used with the artificial palate containing 124 contact sensors in a grid layout, including 2 sensors monitoring the lip contact. The palate included a vacuum-thermoformed flexible printed circuit. Linguagraph was used with the acrylic artificial palate designed and developed for the purpose of this study, containing 62 electrodes in anatomical layout. Palatometer was used by one native of General American and Linguagraph by one native of General British, each reading 140 phonetically balanced sentences that included Harvard Sentences and TIMIT prompts. The EPG data were parametrised into dimensionality reduction indexes, which were analysed by means of linear discriminant analysis and a probabilistic neural network. The results of classifications are discussed.
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    Anti-freezing and peeling
    (GLSA Publications, Univwrsity of Massachusetts Amherst, 2018-10-23) Wiland, Bartosz
    This short paper shows that in certain grammatical environments acceptability of extractions from fronted constituents in Polish is at a similar level as acceptability of the variants involving pied-piping. This suggests that the Freezing Condition, a procedural ban on movement out of a moved constituent, is too coarse. Such a result opens up the possibility for the so-called 'peeling derivations' to be in principle legal.
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    Contours in music and speech: the effect of musical aptitude on speech prosody
    (2017-12-02) Jekiel, Mateusz; Malarski, Kamil
    The exploration of similarities and differences between language and music has recently received increased interest in the field of linguistics and neuroscience. While it is possible to study different domains of language and music, prosody and melody are the two aspects which are objectively similar, as they rely on the same acoustic parameters, i.e. fundamental frequency, amplitude, duration, and spectral characteristics (Schon et al. 2004). These similarities provide the basis for investigating pitch perception in language and music. Zatorre and Baum (2012) argue that there are two pitch processing systems: fine-grained processing, which is responsible only for accurate encoding of musical interval relationships used in scales, and coarse-grained processing, which allows to discriminate between different contours in both speech and music. Contour information is also more perceptually salient and can be detected at an early stage by infants, suggesting that it is a more basic and innate process (Trainor and Trehub 1992). Furthermore, musicians who perform better at processing contours in music also show superior encoding of contours in speech (Wong et al. 2007, Bidelman and Krishnan 2009). However, Billig and Mullensiefen (2012) point out that there is also a limit to the extent that musical training can affect the mental representation of pitch patterns. While the above-mentioned studies focus primarily on the relationship between the perception of contours in speech and music (e.g. Schon et al. 2004), the proposed study tries to explore whether finer processing of musical contours can also lead to improved production of contours in second language speech. In order to investigate this, we recorded 20 advanced Polish speakers of English before and after a two-year pronunciation course, which included segmental and suprasegmental practice. The recordings comprised of a set of short dialogues designed to elicit different intonational patterns from the participants. Using Praat (Boersma and Weenink 2015), we measured the contours of each individual phrase read by the participants and pronunciation teachers to compare the results. To measure the participants’ musical aptitude, we conducted a series of musical hearing tests assessing pitch perception, melodic memory and musical rhythm (Mandell 2009). There was an observable change across the participants’ prosody before and after the course. Moreover, participants with finer musical hearing test results produced more native-like speech contours. These results suggest that musical aptitude does not only affect pitch perception in language and music, but can also influence pitch contours in speech.
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    The acquisition of non-rhoticity in musical and non-musical advanced Polish students of English
    (2016-12-02) Malarski, Kamil; Jekiel, Mateusz
    Polish is a rhotic language. Therefore, in the process of learning General British (Cruttenden 2014) pronunciation, Polish students find it difficult not to produce non-prevocalic /r/s. The following study aims at assessing to what extent musical hearing is helpful in acquiring non-rhoticity among Polish advanced students of English. So far, it has been shown that music has an effect on language in many domains, such as neurolinguistics (Zatorre et al. 2002, Patel et al. 2008), L1 acquisition (Wermke and Mende 2009, Brandt et al. 2012) and L2 acquisition (Lee and Hung 2008). Moreover, the findings in Pastuszek-Lipińska (2008) point to musical hearing as a predisposition for effective speech imitation. Based on these assumptions, we hypothesize that musical hearing has an effect on how fast students of English adapt to non-rhotic pronunciation. Our subjects are 36 Polish speakers (18 female, 18 male) studying English as their major at 1BA level. They took part in two recording sessions, i.e. before and after a two-semester intensive accent training course they have to complete as part of their curriculum, where they are taught the General British pronunciation model. The stimulus comprised of 1) a reading passage, 2) a set of dialogues eliciting rhoticity/non-rhoticity and 3) a wordlist eliciting START and NORTH vowels before non-prevocalic /r/. Next, the participants took part in a musical hearing test, measuring pitch perception, musical memory and rhythm perception. Finally, the speakers were also asked to complete an online survey regarding their listening to music habits and musical experiences (i.e. playing musical instruments, singing, attending music lessons, etc.). The preliminary analysis shows that across all speakers over 60% of all variants were pronounced as rhotic in the first recording session. With time, all our participants improved and produced fewer rhotic variants. It seems that students with better musical hearing had better results for non-rhoticity in both recording sessions. The results suggest that learners with a better musical ear are able to acquire non-rhoticity at an earlier stage.
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    Variable rhoticity in rock music performance across British and American singers: New evidence for Singing English?
    (2016-11-27) Malarski, Kamil; Jekiel, Mateusz
    In the following paper, we analyse rhoticity in rock music performance in selected American and British rock bands from the 60s to 2000s. The study to some extent replicates the idea of Trudgill (1983), where he analysed rhoticity in British rock groups. His finding was that bands from the 1960s and the 1970s, mainly the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, adopted rhotic pronunciation in order to sound more American, because the US was where their music style originated from. Indeed, the sociolinguistic aspect of music performance has been quite well-researched, often with a conclusion that musicians adopt given accentual features in singing to build their on-stage image (Coupland 2011, Gibson 2011). It has been also claimed that American influences in popular culture have been so strong that many musicians subconsciously adopted rhoticity and other pronunciation features commonly associated with General American (Simpson 1999). These arguments are all viable and apply to our data but do not answer all questions. For example, why would American rock singers adopt non-rhoticity at exactly the same time British rock bands adopted rhotic pronunciation? We hypothesise that the presence of rhoticity/non-rhoticity in rock music is dependent not only on socio-cultural constraints, but also on specific phonetic properties that are associated with singing. Preliminary analysis shows that non-rhoticity is adopted more frequently in songs with higher tempo by both British and American rock groups. For example, The Doors, while being only less than 10% rhotic on their 1967 album, are fully rhotic when singing the low tempo Riders On Storm in 1971. Reversely, Foo Fighters have a substantial amount of non-rhotic variants in their high-tempo songs. Moreover, both British and American bands are more likely to drop the word-final rather than preconsonantal /r/ from their pronunciation. Finally, our data show that the examined male rock singers have a significantly different rhoticity ratio in their interviews than in singing. All these findings may provide support for the existence of Singing English that features different phonostylistic processes than spoken English.
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    The role of musical aptitude in the pronunciation of English vowels among Polish learners of English
    (2016-06-11) Jekiel, Mateusz; Malarski, Kamil
    It has long been held that people who have musical training or talent acquire L2 pronunciation more successfully than those that do not. Indeed, there have been empirical studies to support this hypothesis (Pastuszek-Lipińska 2003, Fonseca-Mora et al. 2011, Zatorre and Baum 2012). However, in many of such studies, musical abilities in subjects were mostly verified through questionnaires rather than tested in a reliable, empirical manner. Therefore, we run three different musical hearing tests, i.e. pitch perception test, musical memory test, and rhythm perception test (Mandell 2009) to measure the actual musical aptitude in our subjects. The main research question is whether a better musical ear correlates with a higher rate of acquisition of English vowels in Polish EFL learners. Our group consists of 40 Polish university students studying English as their major who learn the British pronunciation model during an intense pronunciation course. 10 male and 30 female subjects with mean age of 20.1 were recorded in a recording studio. The procedure comprised spontaneous conversations, reading passages and reading words in isolation. Vowel measurements were conducted in Praat in all three speech styles and several consonantal contexts. The assumption was that participants who performed better in musical tests would produce vowels that are closer to the Southern British English model. We plotted them onto vowel charts and calculated the Euclidean distances. Preliminary results show that there is potential correlation between specific aspects of musical hearing and different elements of pronunciation. The study is a longitudinal project and will encompass two more years, during which we will repeat the recording procedure twice to measure the participants’ progress in mastering the English pronunciation and comparing it with their musical aptitude.
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    Rule difficulty and the usefulness of instruction: Learner Perceptions and Performance
    (Oficyna Wydawnicza ATUT, 2009) Scheffler, Paweł; Pietrzykowska, Agnieszka
    In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the importance of code-focused instruction in second / foreign language (L2) acquisition. In current SLA theory, two main types of approaches to L2 instruction can be distinguished: task-based approaches and skill-based approaches. In the former, instruction is to take place through tasks which induce interaction between learners, with code-focused explicit teaching playing a supporting role. In the latter, conscious and systematic study of grammar rules is regarded as the basis for L2 development. Learners are first supposed to develop declarative knowledge of L2 grammar, and then to proceduralize this knowledge to such an extent that it can be used in spontaneous speech production. Regardless of the type of approach adopted, one is, then, justified in applying some form of explicit code-focused instruction. However, there are still a number of issues which need to be considered when deciding which L2 grammar rules to target in teaching. One of the most controversial is that of rule difficulty. This paper addresses this issue from the learner’s perspective: it reports the results of a questionnaire administered to two groups of Polish secondary school learners of English. The first group was asked to assess the difficulty of a number of key areas of English grammar. The second was asked to assess the usefulness of explicit instruction in the same areas. The results indicate that there is a considerable overlap between the judgements of both groups. The learners’ judgements reveal their subjective perceptions of rule difficulty. This paper also reports the results of an objective measure of rule difficulty administered to the first group referred to above. It is shown that the subjective notion of difficulty does not necessarily correspond to the difficulty that learners actually experience when dealing with a particular area of grammar.
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    Cross-dialectal analysis of English pitch register and its influence on perceived speech friendliness
    (2015-02-23) Malarski, Kamil; Jekiel, Mateusz
    Intonation is a pragmatically meaningful cue in evaluating speech (Grabe et al. 2003). While intonational contours may be interpreted differently depending on the context, pitch range has been named a speech parameter especially conducive to judging speaker’s friendliness. As Ohala (1983) explains, pitch range can be analysed either as pitch span, which is the fluctuation between the lowest and the highest pitch level in the speaker’s voice, or as pitch register, i.e. the average vocal frequency of an individual speaker. In our previous research, a comparison of pitch register in Dutch, English and Polish led us to the conclusion that languages with a higher pitch register are perceived as more friendly. Moreover, we noted that even a slight difference of 5 Hz in frequency is noticeable by listeners and affects their judgments. Similarly, differences in pitch range are observable across different varieties of English and can play a role in their reception (Cruttenden 1994: 141, Malarski 2013). Therefore, the present study focuses on these differences across several dialects of English with the aim to investigate the potential effect of pitch range on perceived speech friendliness. For the present study, we recorded two male middle-aged speakers for each of the following accents of English: Southern British, Manchester, Australian, General American and Canadian. We selected short fragments of spontaneous speech and modified intonation by lowering and raising pitch register in the recordings by 5Hz and 10Hz using Praat (Boersma and Weenink 2013). The material was randomized and prepared for a listening survey. 50 students at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań were asked to evaluate the recordings in terms of friendliness on a 7-point Likert scale. The additional criteria were attractiveness, self-confidence and prestige. Our predictions are that students will 1) rate the accents with higher pitch register as more friendly, 2) rate modified recordings with raised pitch as more friendly, and 3) rate modified recordings with lowered pitch as less friendly. If these hypotheses are confirmed, they will constitute new evidence for stating that suprasegmentals, and pitch register in particular, are powerful cues for listeners in pragmatic judgments of speech.
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    Cross-­linguistic analysis of pitch range and its influence on perceived speech friendliness
    (2015-02-20) Jekiel, Mateusz; Malarski, Kamil
    Intonation is an important cue in evaluating speech of other speakers. Studies have shown how pragmatically meaningful it is (Grabe et al. 2003). Apart from intonational contours that may be interpreted differently depending on the context, pitch range has been named a speech parameter that is especially conducive to judging whether a speaker sounds friendly or unfriendly. Chen, Rietveld and Gussenhoven (2001) compared pitch range in Dutch and English, concluding that the latter is perceived as more friendly than the former due to its larger pitch range. This conclusion has led us to investigate the status of Polish in this analysis. In the present study, we recorded two adult male native speakers of Dutch, English and Polish and compared their pitch span and register (Ohala 1983). English was found to have a wider pitch range than Dutch, similarly to the previous study, while Polish was found to have a wider pitch range than Dutch but narrower than English. In the second part of the experiment, our subjects will evaluate how friendly the speech recordings will sound to them. Apart from raw speech samples, we have prepared modified recordings using Praat (Boersma and Weenink 2013), where both pitch span and register were set at the same levels across all speakers. We have prepared an online survey, comprising of a set of randomly ordered recordings of Dutch, English and Polish declarative, lexically identical sentences, both raw and acoustically modified. The participants (at least 20 native speakers of Dutch, English and Polish) will assess the speakers in terms of friendliness using a seven­point Likert scale. The survey will be preceded by a questionnaire concerning participants’ L1 and L2, age, gender, etc. Our hypotheses are that 1) the scores for the modified recordings will differ from the unmodified ones, signifying that pitch range is the main criterion for judging whether a speaker sounds friendly or unfriendly, 2) Dutch will be perceived as the least friendly due to its narrow pitch range, 3) Polish will be perceived as less friendly than English. Polish has rarely been featured in language attitude studies so far, hence, it is especially interesting to see how it scores in relation to English and Dutch. If the intermediate status of Polish pitch patterns is confirmed, yet another evidence will be obtained in the support of the view that pitch is the primary cue for determining speech friendliness.
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    Measuring the effect of metacompetence in EFL pronunciation learning
    (2014-12-18) Łodzikowski, Kacper; Jekiel, Mateusz; Malarski, Kamil
    Reportedly, metacompetence (i.e. phonetic and phonological awareness) provides the learner with reflective feedback that boosts L2 pronunciation learning (Dziubalska-Kołaczyk 2002, Schwartz 2005, Wrembel 2005, Wrembel 2011). However, there is still little quantitative data to confirm this hypothesis. More importantly, there are no studies that would measure how the specific elements of theoretical metacompetence training impact the learner’s success in practical pronunciation training. The primary aim of this pilot study is to test the hypothesis that the knowledge of English phonetics and phonology helps Polish undergraduate EFL learners of English in mastering English pronunciation. The study will be conducted on 1BA English philology students who take a theoretical course in English phonetics and phonology and a practical course in English pronunciation. To verify the hypothesis, we will: (1) measure the intended learning outcomes for learners in the theoretical course in phonetics and phonology, (2) measure the performance of those learners in the practical pronunciation course, (3) investigate the correlation between the performance in the theoretical course and the practical course. Previous studies relied on class observation or qualitative data (e.g. questionnaires, as in Lechowska 2005). While such data can be a part of a broader analysis, relying solely on learners’ impressions may not be sufficient. This is why our study will rely predominantly on quantitative data that most objectively reflects learner behaviour. To collect this data, the theoretical phonetics and phonology course will heavily rely on online components: interactive quizzes, transcription exercises and video lectures (as in previous pilots by Łodzikowski 2014, and Łodzikowski and Aperliński 2013). Data will be collected on Moodle 2.6 with the Piwik plug-in to measure learner online behaviour (frequency, times and duration of visits on Moodle; number of attempts at tasks and time spent on them, etc.). Although the data for this pilot study will be collected throughout the entire academic year (between October 2014 and June 2015), this paper will only report on the first two months of the pilot.
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    Cross-modal Reinforcements in Phonetics Teaching and Learning: An Overview of Innovative Trends in Pronunciation Pedagogy
    (2011) Wrembel, Magdalena
    The present contribution provides an overview of some innovative approaches to pronunciation pedagogy, focusing on cross-modal reinforcements aimed at facilitating the process of L2 phonological perception and production. The paper starts with a brief introduction into recent theories of multisensory integration and proceeds with practical suggestions for multimodal reinforcements integrating visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and metacognitive domains of L2 pronunciation teaching and learning. The proposal includes sensory stimulations in the form of articulatory warm-up exercises, assigning vivid symbolic characteristics to target language sounds, phonetic colour coding and the development of conscious metacognitive phonetic strategies.
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    Cross-linguistic Influence in Third Language Acquisition of Voice Onset Time
    (2011) Wrembel, Magdalena
    The paper aims to investigate the sources of cross-linguistic influence in the acquisition of voice onset time patterns in third language phonology. Thirty two learners of L3 French with L1 Polish and L2 English were recorded reading lists of words in carrier phrases in the three respective languages. The recordings were analyzed for the degree of aspiration of voiceless stops in stressed onset positions. The results revealed interlanguage VOT patterns, including compromise values for L3 VOT that could be attributed to a combined influence of L1 and L2, thus substantiating the existence of both native and non-native cross-linguistic influence in L3 phonology.
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    Comparing rhythm in speech and music: the case of English and Polish
    (2014-09-27) Jekiel, Mateusz
    Although linguistic and musical rhythm have been widely studied by linguists and musicologists alike, there is still a scarcity of quantitative studies that would examine the extent of the relationship between those two domains. A study by Patel et al. (2006) suggests that some characteristic features of a culture’s language are reflected in its instrumental music. The method applied in the study used the normalised pairwise variability index (nPVI), a measure of temporal patterning in speech, introduced by Low (1998) and used primarily for comparing stress­timed and syllable­timed languages (Grabe and Low 2002). By comparing the variability of vocalic duration in recorded speech with nPVI values computed from music notation, Patel et al. concluded that the language rhythm of English and French is mirrored in the music of corresponding English and French classical composers of the 19th c. Although this interdisciplinary approach has been investigated in recent studies (e.g. McGowan and Levitt 2011), it still brings more questions than answers. Firstly, it is difficult to ascertain whether the method can be applicable to all musical forms, as classical music from the 19th c., a period identified as the age of musical nationalism, limits the scope of the studies. Secondly, relying solely on musical notation means omitting recorded live performances that might carry different rhythmic information. Finally, while English and French represent a stressed­time and a syllable­timed language respectively, the differences found in the study by Patel et al. might not be so evident for other languages or dialects. The aim of this study is to attest the method used in Patel et al. (2006) by examining a different set of data, focusing on English and Polish rhythm in speech and music. The speech corpus consisted of 20 English and Polish recorded sentences. The music corpus was divided into two categories and consisted of recordings of live performances and musical notation: (1) the classical music category comprised of a selection of 19th c. themes of English and Polish composers (e.g. Elgar’s and Chopin’s), while (2) the folk music category comprised of a set of traditional English and Polish folk songs (Luboff and Stracke 1969). It can be predicted that there will be a similar discrepancy between the nPVI values for Polish and English language and musical rhythm as in the study by Patel et al.. However, the interrelationship between those results is difficult to foresee and might vary from the original experiment. The outcomes of this study will hopefully shed more light on the relationship between language rhythm and musical rhythm and open new paths for future interdisciplinary studies.
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    Dynamic information for Polish and English vowels in syllable onsets and offsets
    (2014-09-27) Jekiel, Mateusz
    According to the simple target model, vowel targets can be described as “a unifying concept among articulatory, acoustic and perceptual characterizations of vowels” (Strange 1989). Moreover, the model states that the first two oral formants (F1/F2) give sufficient information for vowel identification and the problems with vowel perception derive from variations in their production. Although there is a great deal of acoustic variability for a speaker producing a vowel in different consonantal contexts, the relationship between the vowel targets and the produced vowels still remains, as the listeners can recognise the intended vowels despite the variations. A study by Lindblom and Studdert-Kennedy (1967) argues that listeners compensate for the production undershoot by a perceptual overshoot. Further research in the dynamic specification model proved that vowels in consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) contexts are identified more accurately then in isolation (Verbrugge et al. 1976), syllable onsets and offsets carry useful information for vowel identification (Strange et at. 1983) and a combination of both syllable onsets and offsets provides a “complex dynamic signal that is highly informative” for vowel identification (Jenkins and Strange 1999: 1208). As this paper deals with Polish learners of English, another key study is by Iverson and Evans (2007), showing that L2 learners with a simple vowel system are less successful in identifying English vowels and use different cues than learners with a complex vowel system. The experiment, based on the paper by Jenkins and Strange (1999), was carried out at the School of English at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. A set of Polish and English vowels in CVC contexts was recorded and modified in Praat according to five different conditions: silent-centre (three initial pitch periods, four final pitch periods), one initial pitch period, five initial pitch periods, four final pitch periods and eight final pitch periods, attenuating the remaining vowel components to silence. The participants of the experiment, five students of AMU School of English (proficiency level) and five students from non-linguistic studies (intermediate level), were asked to identify the vowel they heard by marking the key word on an answer sheet that contained the same vowel. The purpose of the experiment was to establish the adequate amount of dynamic information in syllable onsets and offsets needed for correct vowel identification, to compare Polish and English vowel perception and to see to what extent the dynamic specification model describes Polish speakers' vowel perception. The results showed that (1) both groups had difficulties in identifying English vowels, (2) proficiency-level students had better results from their intermediate-level counterparts (80% in silent-centre condition vs. 48%) and (3) both groups had exceptional results in identifying Polish vowels (over 90% in all conditions). Firstly, the difference between a simple L1 (Polish) and a complex L2 (English) vowel system seems to have a bearing on correct vowel identification. Secondly, it seems possible for EFL students to use the dynamic information for English vowels, as the group’s results correlated with the one’s from Jenkins and Strange (1999). Lastly, the results show a difference between Polish and English vowel perception, as the dynamic information in syllable onsets and offsets seems rather futile for the correct identification of Polish vowels.
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    Using Web 2.0 technologies and collaborative work in teaching academic writing
    (2014-06-27) Jekiel, Mateusz
    Teaching academic writing to ESL learners can be a difficult task: students are usually unfamiliar with academic style, have difficulties in producing a structured piece of writing and get easily discouraged by an exam­oriented approach, having to use old school pen and paper with no access to technology. Indeed, the gap between everyday writing tasks and the exam is significant: access to online dictionaries, linguistic corpora and academic articles, as well as being able to work in groups using Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. Google Docs) is a standard in today's professional writing. However, most students are less tech­savvy than it is presumed: they are generally unaware of practical web tools, use Google search ineffectively and obtain information from unreliable sources. Hence, the implementation of a more practical approach with the use of web technologies and collaborative assignments in the writing classroom should be considered by ESL teachers. Incorporating collaborative practices in higher education can be beneficial on many levels: students become more conscious of their work, profit from peer correction and compose better works in terms of language and structure (Storch 2005). Moreover, using Web 2.0 tools can be especially advantageous, as it promotes cooperation skills, provides a user­friendly environment for peer reviewing and prepares students for future careers in networking (Brodahl et al. 2011, Kessler et al. 2012). In the following preliminary research, I compared individual pen and paper compositions with collaborative online works written on the same topic by two groups of 20 students on a comparable level of language proficiency (CAE). One of the groups practiced in class how to use Google Docs and search for reliable information online. The results show that students working in groups via Web 2.0 tools 1) generate more complex ideas, 2) learn from each other, 3) compose better texts in terms of language and content, 4) raise their awareness of plagiarism, and 5) develop a positive attitude to collaborative work. Therefore, collaborative exercises and web­based tools should be subject to more academic research and become a part of the writing course for ESL students.
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    Flipped teaching with screencasts at university level
    (2014-04-17) Łodzikowski, Kacper
    This paper presents best practices in teaching EFL and linguistics at the university level using the flipped teaching method. Its aim is to present screencasts (i.e. video lectures) as an alternative to pre-class reading assignments and in-person lectures because they engage students more than the former and save teachers’ time more than the latter. Flipped teaching emphasises pre-class preparation, which allows teachers to spend more quality time with their students in the classroom, focusing on practice or further exploration (Bruff, 2013). But in order for a flipped classroom to be effective, students must show up thoroughly prepared, which usually involves pre-class reading assignments. However, only 30% of students read the assigned texts (Hobson, 2004, p. 1-2). Instead of developing new reading strategies or forcing students to read with quizzes, an emerging trend in US higher education banished readings altogether in favour of screencasts. The main rationale behind this is that passive offline text is not enough for the current generation of digital natives raised bombarded with interactive (often online) audio-visual content (Pacansky-Brock, 2013, p. 1-13). The YouTube generation requires YouTube-style content. Existing research shows that the use of multimedia screencasts increases learner motivation and performance (Herreid & Schiller, 2013, p. 64). Apart from engaging students, screencasts can also be easily reused to reach a wider audience of learners, with no effort on part of the teacher, providing a cost-effective just-in-time alternative to regular lectures. This paper will show how flipped teaching – with a screencast as a supplementary or, at times, the only material – was successfully used at the AMU Faculty of English in two types of courses: TEFL and linguistics (English phonetics and phonology and Polish-English contrastive grammar).
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    Building an effective learning environment in a course in English phonetics
    (2014-04-17) Łodzikowski, Kacper; Aperliński, Grzegorz
    This paper presents modern online teaching methods we applied in a blended learning course in English phonetics for 1BA English philology students. Our aim is to offer suggestions on how to create a flipped-classroom-style effective learning environment that boosts learners’ autonomy and engagement with the course. The suggestions range from reusing freely available solutions such as Google Apps to showing examples of custom-developed Moodle plug-ins and web apps. The traditional approach to education has long had the teacher is in the centre, acting as the distributor of knowledge and controller of student activity. But today, students can be offered a personalised process of learning, with the teacher’s role effectively reduced to a guide who only pushes learners in the right direction. Our goal was to prepare a diversified learning environment that would inspire creativity and critical thinking in students, as well as require interaction between the learner and the material. As a theoretical framework for designing the course, we followed Nicholls (2002), Carmean and Haefner (2002) and Fullan (2012). In our paper, we discuss the following aspects of an effective learning environment and present the following methods we used to attain the desired results: 1. Social learning and how it can be fostered with the help of Google Apps to personalise students’ learning materials (Blau and Caspi 2009: 53, Pacansky-Brock 2012: 48, 117). 2. Active learning using webquests and the Moodle glossary activity type where students are required to seek information on the web, and create and share their own definitions to teach their colleagues. 3. Contextual learning that expects students to apply their knowledge in believable scenarios, e.g. a short answer activity type with an on-screen clickable keyboard containing IPA symbols for both RP and GenAm English. We highlight the usefulness of pre-programmed feedback specific for most common wrong answers. 4. Student-owned and engaging learning: following the success of such massive open online courses as Khan Academy, we supplemented pre-class readings with screencasts to cater for different learning styles. We then introduced post-class free practice activities, our flagship practice activity being an in-house developed phonetic transcriptor of RP English, which allows students to practise allophonic transcription without teacher supervision.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego