Sample of how students use the foreign language TTS (text-to-speech) in the LRC

Last week, I noticed this student in the LRC working on a speaking assignment in her SLA class. First, she wrote a draft of her presentation. She then had the Deskbot TTS wizard (in the lower right of her screen) read out the draft to her. She recorded her version, modeling after the Deskbot’s pronunciation. Then she had the Deskbot read out the draft again, to compare with her own recording.

Look for the little guy in the lower right corner of the screen with the cartoon bubble over his head.

I favor the use of the Deskbot TTS (a Windows XP technology) as an easily accessible speaking dictionary, including during face-to-face teaching, when students may otherwise be too shy to make an utterance because they are not sure about the pronunciation of a single word, or even ask the teacher to pronounce it for them. Prosodically, the deskbot TTS leaves many things to be desired. Let’s hope that Windows 7 will enable us to set up more advanced TTS support in the LRC.

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