Second language speech fluency at Utrecht University

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

After attending the Copenhagen Speech Event, I travelled down to the Netherlands to visit the University of Utrecht.  There I met with Nivja de Jong to talk about hesitation phenomena research. I'be been really impressed with her work on hesitation phenomena as it pertains to the evaluation of fluency in second language speech proficiency development. Unfortunately, I was unable to join a workshop she had organized a few months earlier at Utrecht.  So, it was a great chance to hear more about the corpus she has been using in her research.

I was also fortunate to have the chance to give a talk (abstract, slides) to the ELiTu group there about my research.  I talked about the Crosslinguistic Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena, its design, construction, and some results.  The pilot corpus (CCHP pilot:consisting of just 10 speakers) was the basis for giving a narrow but deeper statistical analysis of the developmental trajectory of hesitation phenomena in second language speech.  Then, the public corpus (CCHP main: consisting of 35 speakers) was the basis for a broader, but shallower analysis of the question (because the corpus is not sufficiently annotated yet). As per protocol, the talk was interrupted several times with questions and comments.  I really like this style for colloquium talks: It means that participants can ask their questions when it is fresh in their mind and perhaps also in the mounds of other participants. Furthermore, it's easier for me to deal with questions in-context.  Anyway, the thoughtful question and comments I received at ELiTu were greatly appreciated.