The project team at the University of Jyväskylä focuses on the phonetic analyses of L2 speech and studies relevant pronunciation features in oral skills assessment. L2 pronunciation is studied with both acoustic and auditory methods. In the speech samples of L2 Swedish, both segmental and prosodic features are studied and compared with the proficiency level assessment the speakers have received. The pronunciation features investigated are e.g. speech and articulation rate, intonation, rhythm, stress, quantity, and individual sounds.

Research on which pronunciation features are of great relevance for oral skills benefits both language teaching and assessment. Pronunciation has a central role in spoken language. Many pronunciation features affect e.g. the intelligibility and comprehensibility of speech and also the perception of foreign accent, which all can affect how well the speaker’s message is understood. Pronunciation learning is, therefore, an important and central learning goal in second and foreign language teaching.

Researchers in the project team are: Mikko Kuronen, Ari Huhta, Heini Kallio, and Maria Kautonen.