Taking a Close Look at Tone Perfect,

a Mandarin Chinese Audio Database,

through the Lens of Accessible Learning in Second Language Studies

Catherine Ryu

December 2, 2017

Accessible Learning Conference

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Overview

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  • Introduction: What is Tone Perfect?
  • Tone Perfect, Accessibility, and Accessible Learning
  • Remaining Tasks, Broader Implications, and Future Development
  • Q & A

Part I: Introduction

What is Tone Perfect?

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Tone Perfect

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https://tone.lib.msu.edu/

Tone Perfect: Multimodal Database for Mandarin Chinese

*An outcome of a multidisciplinary team at MSU

*Launched in September 2017

*Development through an agile approach

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Tone Perfect: Multimodal Database for Mandarin Chinese

*9,860 audio files (6 sets of 1,640).

*The full catalog of monosyllabic sounds in Mandarin Chinese, including “lexical gaps” (410 in total)

*In all 4 tones (410 x 4 = 1,640).

*6 native Mandarin speakers (3 female and 3 male)

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Part II:Tone Perfect, Accessibility, and Accessible Learning

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Research Question

How does the notion of accessible learning becomes inflected in digital humanities via second language studies, in particular through Mandarin Chinese tone learning in a digital environment?

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Accessibility from Two Perspectives

  • The perspective of novice Mandarin Chinese learners

B) The perspective of the producers of digital learning resources

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  • From the perspective of novice Mandarin learners

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Accessible Learning

Learning Challenges

Perceptual

Conceptual

Psychological

Kinesthetic & Tactile

Physical

Others

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Accessible Learning

Learning Challenges

Perceptual

Conceptual

Emotional

Kinesthetic & Tactile

Physical

Others

L2 Learning Challenges

Sound (auditory)

Script (visual)

Grammar (conceptual)

Digital learning environment (kinesthetic & tactile)

L1 interference

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L2 Mandarin Tone Learning Challenges

A tonal language: one sound & potentially multiple meanings

Tone 1: High Level

Tone 2: Rising

Tone 3: Dipping

Tone 4: Falling

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L2 Mandarin Tone Learning Challenges

The sound “ma”

Tone 1“mother” Tone 2 “hemp”

Tone 3 “horse” Tone 4 “to scold”

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Two Key Aspects of Tone Perfect

As An Accessible Pedagogical Tool

Multimodality

Interactivity

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Multimodality

Visualization of tonal information: Seeing & Hearing

Tone-Number

Tone-Pitch Contour

Tone-Colored Wave Form

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Multimodality

Scripts:

Sounds & Comprehension

Pinyin (Romanization of Mandarin Sounds)

Traditional Chinese characters

Simplified Chinese characters

Identical sound/tone for multiple words

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Interactivity

Multiple search options to interact with the database

Sound

tone

Speaker

Gender

Lexical gap

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ai 1 by all six speakers

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ai in 4 tones by FV1 only

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“ai” combined with other consonants produced by FV1

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“ai” FV1 and MV1 Comparison

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“ai” FV1, FV2, and FV3 Comparison

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Accessibility

  • From the perspective of novice Mandarin Chinese learners

*Multimodality & Interactivity

*Agency & Control over creating a personalized digital learning environment

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Accessibility From Two Perspectives

B) From the perspective of the producers of digital learning resources

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Two Key Aspects of Tone Perfect

As An Accessible & Adaptable Database

Open Access

Multi-Repurposing Digital Resources

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Open Access

Web-based database

Housed in a public institution

Multiple audio asset download options

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Multi-Repurposing Digital Resources

Audio asset production to support a web-based empirical experiment on Mandarin tone perception

Audio asset production to support a Mandarin tone learning app game

Audio asset repository that can be easily accessed for multiple purposes

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Multi-Repurposing Digital Resources

Examples

M-ToPP

Picky Birds

Lingua Incognita

Psychoacoustic Analysis of Mandarin tones, etc.

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Accessibility

B) From the perspective of the producers of digital learning resources

Open Access facilitated by digital infrastructure

Repurposing digital resources to generate more channels for accessing digital resources

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Part III: Remaining Tasks, Broader Implications of Tone Perfect, and Its Future Development

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Remaining Tasks

Enhancing the visibility of Tone Perfect

Workshops

Conference presentations

Collaborators beyond MSU

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Broader Implications of Tone Perfect

Standardization of audio asset production process

Standardization of the meta structure for Mandarin audio databases

Standardization of audio assets for empirical research and its reproducibility

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Tone Perfect’s Future Development

Multi-syllable sounds in Mandarin Chinese

Native speakers in greater numbers

Other Chinese dialects

Other tonal languages

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Tone Perfect as a shared digital resource for pedagogy, knowledge production, and dissemination

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Q & A

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The team!

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Research

Digital Humanities

MSU Librarians

Supporting Units

Audio Production

Ryu, ALC ppt for Dec. 2, 2017 - Google Slides