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Accent Clear: An app developed by alumnus, faculty member

Learning English as a second language can be difficult, but with the help of Accent Clear it can be easier.

An Illinois State University speech-language pathology 2006 alumnus, Kevin Kang, created this application. He said, “When I was a college student, it was very difficult to understand how each sound is created inside the mouth because there were few limited resources to guide the coordination of articulators. It was mostly based upon pictures or rough flash animations.” He felt that there was a need for 3D animation in order to better understand how each speech sound is produced.

After studying phonetics under Associate Professor Heidi Harbers in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Illinois State, and in the Ph.D. program at the University of Memphis, Kang felt that he was able to better understand human speech production processes. After five years of professional experience in Korea as an English pronunciation expert, he was able to develop unique 3D animation contents and speech analysis engines with Harbers and speech and audio scientists to envision human speech sounds.

Harbers, a co-creator of Accent Clear, wrote the phonetic scripts and sentences with the help of her students. She also reviewed and edited the words used and the 3D animations to ensure that the tongue shape was appropriate. She was able to visit an animation studio in Seoul, Korea to help edit these animations.  Harbers noted that she could not have done this without the help of her graduate students: Christine Zinn, McKayla Ellsworth, Kelsey Williams, Andrea Herrell, and Julia Tockstein. They went to Seoul to work with individuals at Kang’s Sweet English Language Institute. She said that this application has been three years in the making and will be a valuable resource for those that are learning English or those working with an individual who is learning English.

The goal for this application is to provide accurate references of human speech sounds and to guide user’s speech production for them to better understand these processes. They hope that their products will be beneficial for both people learning accurate speech production as well as for speech-language pathologists to help others improve their speech intelligibilities.

This application can be found on the App Store.

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