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Instruction for the mechanics of sound production may be facilitated by the use of spectrograms. Tutorials using the spectrogram on IBM Speechviewer II show visual differences in fricatives that vary in place of production and in voicing.

The real-time spectrograms on the CSL provide helpful visual and auditory feedback allowing students to see co-articulation between phonemes and energy distinctions across all the sound categories.

Examples of Instruction:

Voiceless fricatives and coarticulation

As students view the spectrograms they can clearly see the energy distinctions for the /s/ and /sh/ and coarticulation.

Students are generally able to learn the features of target sounds such as the air and voiceless features of /h/. They are often interested in understanding other parts of a spectrogram as well. Here the student says “hot,” trying to produce an /h/ which she often omits. She is able to see the /h/ and the vowel but asks what the gap is (delay in voice onset time before postvocalic

Contrasting sibilant fricatives and affricates

Students can see the differences between the continuancy feature of /s/ and the stop plus the continuancy feature of /ch/.

Consonant blends

Students can clearly see and listen for both phonemes as they practice consonant blends.

Multiple Goals
Spectrograms and voice statistics are also available on the IBM Speech Viewer which provides information about pitch and loudness and permits good examples to be saved for future reference. Often students want to use technology for self-instruction. We have found that students who have experience using the technology and know specific identifying features to monitor accuracy can use technology as feedback during practice sessions. In this segment the instructor has set specific targets for the student to model.