SPRING: Speech and Pronunciation Improvement through Games For Hispanic children in the US


Master Thesis

Nitesh Goyal


Lack of understandable English pronunciations is a major problem for immigrant population in developed countries like U.S. This poses various problems, including a barrier to entry into main-stream society. This work presents a research study that explores the use of speech technologies merged with activity-based and arcade-based games to do pronunciation feedback for Hispanic children within the U.S.

A 4-month long study with immigrant population in California was used to investigate and analyze the effectiveness of computer aided pronunciation feedback through games to make the speech more understandable and intelligible. In addition to quantitative findings that point to statistically significant gains in pronuncia-tion quality, the work also explores qualitative findings, interac-tion patterns and challenges faced by the researchers in dealing with this community. It also describes the issues involved in deal-ing with pronunciation as a competency.


Design and employ age-appropriate games similar to the ones that English as Second Language Learning (ESL/ELL) Hispanic High-School students in California already enjoy playing as extra aids to give feedback for improving English pronunciation to make their speech more intelligible and understandable.


This work presents a rare effort and rare approach towards Eng-lish language learning. It is a rare effort because the focus of the research community, especially the Information and Communica-tion Technology for Development (ICTD) community, has long been the developing parts of the world as opposed to the under-privileged or under-resourced children in the developed world. Though I hope the focus would still stay the same, I believe that this work would be seen as a proof of concept research towards use of technology for development in parts of the developed world. This work investigates the effectiveness and viability of use of speech technologies and games (which have not been used to-gether in the past) in giving pronunciation feedback to Hispanic children. There is hope that the positive results shown in this piece of research would inspire other such efforts in the field and underprivileged communities in the developed world would also start benefitting from the field of ICTD.



The webpage to access publications, thesis proposal, and thesis and associated works:
Nitesh Goyal(external link)


Ulrik Schroeder

Created by Daniel Herding. Last Modification: Friday, 18. March 2011 14:43:07 by Ulrik Schroeder.