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IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor: Ron Thomson

1 - 16 April 2013

Dr. Thomson is Associate Professor at Brock University, Canada, where his research focuses on the development of pronunciation and fluency in adult learners of English. His work on a computer-mediated approach to training Canadian immigrants in the perception and production of English language vowels has culminated in a pedagogically-oriented web-based application ("English Accent Coach") in grants funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Dr. Thomson is a rare breed of applied linguist whose expertise and scholarly outputs straddle the theoretical-practical divide. As a phonetician, he is skilled in the measurement of acoustic and temporal (fluency) phenomena, which he examines in conjunction with auditory (listener perceptual) correlates. As an applied linguist, he is interested in the educational implications of his work, including facilitating the acquisition of second language (L2) phonology to enhance real-world oral communication.

Dr Thomson is Vice president of TESL Canada, a member of Brock University's Research Ethics Board, and an editorial board member of three academic journals. His work has appeared in high-impact journals, including the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Language and Learning, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition. 

During his visit to Bristol Dr. Thomson will be advising on the set-up of a state-of-the-art 'Applied Second Language Speech Lab', and presenting his research on using speech analysis software to examine the effects of acoustic or temporal (fluency) features on the intelligibility of non-native speech, and on phonological working memory capacity and the development of second language speech perception.

During his stay Dr. Thomson will be giving two lectures:

April 15: Using speech analysis software to examine the effects of acoustic or temporal (fluency) features on the intelligibility of non-native speech

April 16: Phonological working memory capacity and the development of second language speech perception

For further information on Dr Thomson's visit, please contact Dr Talia Isaacs.