New Laboratories for Phonetics in San Diego
​The small electrodes attached to the head transmit information on brain activity.

​In the new laboratories, acoustic learning material on second language pronunciation will be collected with the same arrangements as in the LAB lab of Turku as well as the laboratories of Barcelona and London.

– In the laboratory of UC San Diego, the focus is mainly on mapping the learning skills of bilingual English and Mandarin speakers, with several age groups included. In San Diego State University, it is studied how different level bilingual English and Spanish speakers are able to utilise their multilingualism in learning new speech, says Associate Professor Maija S. Peltola, who leads the Phonetics unit.

The laboratory projects are part of a larger international research project of the LAB lab which, with the support from the learning and teaching technology company Sanako, has the objective to study how diverse linguistic backgrounds impact learning and how learning could be supported by taking different kinds of learning skills into account.

International Research Collaboration

In addition to the laboratory project, the LAB lab will begin an extensive research project on cochlear implants in co-operation with the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

The impact of cochlear implant on language learning has previously been studied mainly from the perspective of first language acquisition, but the new project will explore the progression of learning the production and recognition of a new language, too.

– The research also explores how the phonetic system of the first language impacts the recognition of speech of children who use a cochlear implant. This can be achieved with standardised laboratories so that the material is collected both in California and the LAB lab in Turku. We are looking for local partners for the project and wish to be able to include more researchers, still, Peltola says.

Pronunciation Exercises Piloted in Sacramento

The LAB lab also launched a collaboration with Bella Vista High School in Sacramento.

– By collaborating, we will better be able to understand the differences in language classes and language education in Finland and in the United States. This knowledge can be further utilised in developing new types of exercises to support second language acquisition, Peltola says.

The collaboration also enables collecting research material, as the students of the school pilot with different kinds of pronunciation exercises.

HK/AJ

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Published date 6/13/2018 5:20 PM ,  Modified date 6/13/2018 5:25 PM

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