Linguistics Pronunciation Training

A 7-Minute Language Quiz for Non-German Speakers

First, the update: The book is chugging along, and will take substantially longer than I had predicted (and will be much better for it!)

So far, I’ve gotten my thoughts, theories, and research down on Memory, Pronunciation, Word Learning, Grammar, Vocabulary Lists, and Mnemonic Use, and the next step (aside from some remaining research and thoughts on Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking) is reworking it into a friendly, clear presentation that’s an enjoyable book to read (and not a textbook).

As we start cutting textbooky sections out of the book, I’ll be posting them here.

My current goal, aside from finishing the book, is to provide some high-quality pronunciation tools because there’s just not very much available that’s easy to use and effective.

It’s not much of a surprise, but the cutting edge of research in terms of ear training seems to be audio tests with minimal pairs (Bit/Bat, Sit/Sat, Bit/Sit) and immediate feedback (I’m going to say one of two words, either Bitte or Biete. You tell me which one I said. Ready? Bitte. [And whatever you say, it tells you whether you got it wrong or right immediately].

This would work very well with Anki, and if you collected enough pairs and perhaps different people recording them, you’d get a very effective tool, and Anki would take care of making sure you heard the hardest ones the most often. So, I’m planning on making ear training Anki decks for specific language pairs (English–)German, etc.)

To that end, I’m conducting research as to the hardest-to-hear sounds for English speakers. If you have a spare 7 minutes and you don’t speak German, can you take a quiz and send me the results? Here is the recording.

**Edit: If you only have 2 minutes, I’ve split the test into 4 parts (and I’ve tried to go slower), so take whichever one you want. Please make sure you write down the numbers so I know which test(s) you’re taking!

Test 1 (1–27)

Test 2 (28–54)

Test 3 (55–81)

Test 4 (82–113)

What to do: Either open up an email, text program, or reply to this post and get ready to type while listening to the recording (the quiz starts after 60 seconds of explanation).

You’ll hear 113 pairs of words (strick – strock, strick – strick, strück – ströck, etc) and your goal is to write down how different they sound:

5: Very different (Meat, Mat)
4: Pretty different (easy to hear: Pfeet, Pfit)
3: Different (Not too hard to hear the difference: Pfüte, Pföte)
2: Barely different (Hard to hear any difference: Drucken, Drücken)
1: The same (Mit, Mit)

If you can answer in this format, I’d be much obliged.

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, whatever
1. 3
2. 2
3. 3
4. 1
5. 5
6. 2
7. 3

I’ll compile the results and put them here once I have. Thank you for your time!

PS: A heads-up that I make mistakes at #44, 86, 89 (twice!) and redo them immediately.

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