Chilin Shih University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Measures of Tone Difficulty Friday, October 25th, 2013 Time: 2:15pm-3:30pm Place: Room C415A (basement level), CUNY Graduate Center (365 5th Ave, between 34str. & 35str) Abstract: Measures of difficulty is needed in many real life as well as computer-simulated applications. Such measures for text, math and science have long received academic and industrial attention due to the demands for k-12 curriculum, instruction and assessment. Comparable studies for speech sound are lacking, though the demand is on the rise given the popularity of on-line second language (L2) teaching software. In this talk, I will explore the measures of Chinese lexical tone difficulty for the purpose of building an on-line adaptive system for L2 pronunciation training. I will investigate how L2 item difficulty ratio (correct responses/total responses) can be explained by acoustic properties of tones, range of production variation and confusability. The study focuses on monosyllabic tones, thus isolating the task from traditional measurements of complexity. Bio: Chilin Shih is Helen Corley Petit Scholar and associate professor in Linguistics and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work is situated at the intersection of language technologies, language teaching and linguistics with a focus on tone and prosody modeling and its application to second language education.