Multilingual Ultrasound Project (MUSP) has 5 subprojects:
Experiment A: We use ultrasound imaging to clarify articulatory movements (mainly tongue movements) during speech production in learners of Japanese. We focus on the articulation of moraic nasal /N/, one of the most difficult Japanese phonemes for learners to master, and compare the articulatory movements of native speakers of English, Chinese, and Korean with those of native speakers of Japanese, in order to visualize similarities and differences, and to provide useful data for improving the clarity of pronunciation of learners. The goal of the project is to provide data that will help learners improve their pronunciation intelligibility. In addition, we will analyze the multilingual speech and articulation data obtained from the experiment and discuss the relationship between phonetics and phonology.
Experiment B: In this subproject, we investigate the phonetic characteristics of sokuon (obstruent geminates) in Japanese. What are the acoustic and articulatory properties of sokuon produced by native speakers, what are the effects of phonological environments on them, and what aspects are especially difficult for learners of Japanese?
Experiment C: Experiment C investigates the voiced-voiceless contrast of Japanese plosives and examines the production of Japanese plosives by Chinese learners of Japanese. While Japanese plosives are characterized by a voiced-voiceless contrast, Chinese plosives exhibit an aspirated-unaspirated contrast. Due to this difference in contrast, Chinese native speakers may encounter difficulties in acquiring Japanese plosives. Experiment C aims to reveal the actual manifestation of the voiced-voiceless contrast in Japanese by comparing the production of Japanese plosives between native and foreign learner groups. And ultimately, the goal is to provide valuable insights that may assist Chinese learners of Japanese in acquiring the proper articulation of Japanese plosives in the future.
Experiment E: In Experiment E, we are studying speech difficulties in the native language (Japanese). Even if they do not have dysarthria, many people may have experienced a situation in which the tongue does not roll well and some sounds are difficult to say. In addition to the observation of tongue movement using an ultrasound device, we aim to clarify the characteristics of difficulty in speech in daily conversation through the observation of renewal movements on video and acoustic analysis, thereby helping to facilitate smoother communication.