The literature indicates that many Japanese students enrolled in English language classes do not use English outside of class. Therefore, we assume that speech recognition technology can help create opportunities to speak English. Although some speech recognition software is widely available, few studies have used software with a speech recognition function to investigate how we should adapt this technology to foreign language learners with various proficiency levels, including Japanese students. The authors, therefore, developed a prototype system with a speech recognition function to create opportunities for Japanese students practicing English. We tested the system in a pilot study with 17 Japanese university students. During the test, students were asked to use the correct English word for an image displayed by the system. Students’ responses to the system were collected via a survey questionnaire. The pilot test indicated that most words were recognized accurately, and the students’ speech was correctly recognized by the testing system to a large extent. In addition, 88% of the students expressed a positive attitude toward the system. These results suggest that speech recognition functions create opportunities for students to practice their English. They also suggest that we should consider the balance between a software’s recognition rate and students’ motivation for practicing English when using speech recognition software for language instruction, since students might be less confident if their pronunciation is repeatedly found to be incorrect.
Harumi Kashiwagi, Kobe University, Japan
Min Kang, Kobe University, Japan
Kazuhiro Ohtsuki, Kobe University, Japan
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