Computer-Assisted Pronunciation Learning of French /U/ and /Y/ at the Intermediate Level

  • Viviane Ruellot (Western Michigan University)


This study explores the impact of visual feedback derived from a speech analysis program designed to improve the pronunciation of French /u/ (as in tout [tu], “all”) and /y/ (as in tu [ty], “you”) in the speech of intermediate-level adult learners of French with L1 English. As /y/ is absent from the English phoneme repertoire and represents a new phone for these learners, successful distinction between French /u/ and /y/ is contingent upon experience with the language (Flege, 1987). Visual representation of articulators, with a focus on tongue position (back for /u/ and front for /y/), may help learners create distinct phonemic categories for these sounds. Students (n=14) in a third-year French phonetics course recorded their pronunciation of French monosyllabic words featuring /u/ and /y/. Participants in the audio-visual condition (n=7) received visual information about the formant trajectories of /u/ and /y/ and instruction as to their correlation with degree of mouth aperture (F1), tongue backing (F2), and lip rounding (F3). The recordings were assessed by native French speakers. Results indicate that the presence of visual feedback did not significantly improve pronunciation. The relation between the efficacy of visual pronunciation feedback, time on task, and perception skill development are discussed.

How to Cite:

Ruellot, V., (2010) “Computer-Assisted Pronunciation Learning of French /U/ and /Y/ at the Intermediate Level”, Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Proceedings 2(1).

Download PDF
View PDF

Published on
31 Dec 2010