Computer-based perceptual training as a major component of adult instruction in a foreign language

Charles S. Watson, James D. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Millions of adult learners have acquired good-to-excellent literacy in English, but most of them continue to have difficulty with oral communication in that language. The more obvious their problem is with pronunciation, which varies from just noticeably "foreign" to very difficult to understand, the less apparent, but possibly fundamental to their overall skill level in English, is their difficulty in recognizing spoken sounds, words, and phrases of that language. Contemporary research has shown that adults are capable of learning to perceive a new language quite accurately, through systematic training. Perceptual skills acquired through such training are likely to contribute to continuing improvement in pronunciation and to an increasing vocabulary. Such a training program is described in this chapter, the Speech Perception Assessment and Training Program for ESL (SPATS-ESL). After 20-30 hours of training with this program, most ESL students are shown to achieve near-native recognition of the sounds of English and of words in sentences spoken at normal conversational rates.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer-Assisted Foreign Language Teaching and Learning
Subtitle of host publicationTechnological Advances
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781466628779
ISBN (Print)9781466628229
StatePublished - Jan 31 2013


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