EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C548191/1
Title: Second Language Speech Fluency: The role of pause phenomena in the automatic extraction of multi-word units
Principal Investigator: Adolphs, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Rodden, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of English
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: First Grant Scheme Pre-FEC
Starts: 01 September 2005 Ends: 28 February 2009 Value (£): 71,037
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Human Communication in ICT Language Acquisition
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
A large percentage of the English language consists of multi-word units which are produced and processed as 'chunks' rather than with reference to their individual composite parts. This non-compositionality means that they defy rigid formalisation which causes difficulties in their Identification and extraction from texts.One of the characteristics of multi-word units that lends itself to empirical study is that of holistic storage which has been highlighted within the area of psycholinguistics. Multi-word units are retrieved holistically from memory to express Ideas or concepts and as a result they are produced as a continuous unit in speech that remains uninterrupted by any pause phenomena. This characteristic of multi-word units makes them an important factor In the analysis of speech fluency and it has been suggested that differences In the level of speech fluency between native and non-native speakers of English can partly be ascribed to the non-native speaker's lack of a multi-word unit repertoire In this language.However, there is currently no framework for comparing native speaker English with non-native speaker English with reference to the use of multi-word units that takes account of the characteristic of holistic storage. Such a framework has to combine methodologies for extracting multi-word units from corpora with the annotation of such units in terms of their qualities that Indicate holistic storage (i.e. the lack of pause phenomena).The lack of a suitable framework in this context reflects the gap between psycholinguistic theory concerning the storage of multi-word units on the one hand, and the development of methodologies for the recognition of such units in Natural Language Processing (NLP) on the other.The proposed research aims to bridge this gap by combining theory and methodology from the two disciplines within a demonstrator project of multiword units In an existing native speaker and non-native speaker corpus of English. To analyse differences between the two groups of speakers in terms of their use of multi-word units, a coding scheme for pause phenomena will be developed and applied to a set of automatically extracted multi-word units in the two corpora which are Identical in size and similar in terms of contextual consistency.The results of this project and the accompanying methodology will advance theory and practice in both second language research and NLP, as well as providing practical outputs for language learners, teachers and material designers
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk