East Asian Languages and Cultures
The Beckman Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
I joined UIUC in 2003. I am affiliated with the Department of East Asian
Languages and Cultures, the Department of Linguistics, and the Beckman
Institute. My work is inter-disciplinary in nature: It is situated in the
intersection of linguistics, speech technologies and language
Before joining UIUC in 2003, I have worked for ten years on
multilingual text-to-speech systems at Bell Laboratories, analyzing
multilingual prosodic systems and building models to predict prosody
from text, including intonation models and duration models.
I have built text-to-speech systems in many languages: Mandarin,
Romanian, Russian, Hindi, Greek and Navajo. I also worked on some
components of Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.
Learning the prosody of a second language is a difficult task.
Language learners of Chinese have difficulty acquiring the lexical
tones of Chinese, correcting hyper-articulation and expressing
paralinguistic meaning in combination with tones.
I am building a Prosody Tutor under an NSF grant
to address these problems.
The Prosody Tutor uses an adaptive approach to prosody tutoring and
adjusts teaching materials automatically according to students'
Second Language Fluency Evaluation
Are you fluent in a second language? What is fluency
and how do native speakers rank it?
We employed a multidisciplinary approach that integrates
psycholinguistic models of language production, speech and language
technology and machine learning methods to investigate the factors
affecting second language fluency, the acoustic correlates of fluency,
the perception of fluency, the evaluation of fluency and how these
findings may enhance second language fluency development.
This project is based on data collected from the creative
output paradigm that I implemented in the third year and fourth year
Chinese language classes at UIUC, where the curriculum centers around public
speaking training exercises such as debates, interviews, and
The Arctic Articulatory Project
The Arctic Articulatory Project is a long-term effort
where I plan to collect articulatory movement data using
EMA (Electromagnetic Articulograph AG500).