DITCall-Slow: slowing native speech for language learners

Dermot Campbell, Dublin Institute of Technology
Ciaran McDonnell, Dublin Institute of Technology
Yi Wang, Dublin Institute of Technology
Marty Meinardi, Dublin Institute of Technology
Bunny Richardson, Dublin Institute of Technology
Charles Pritchard, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Conference Paper

Presented at EdTech 2007


It is a common experience of many learners of a foreign language that native speakers (NSs) of that language speak too quickly for them to understand or imitate. Slowing down a segment of speech with older technology results in the familiar deepening of the voice as the pitch drops as well. The result is unpleasant and not particularly instructive. The DITCall-Slow tool slows recorded speech without tonal distortion, so that the learner has – literally – more time to hear what was said by the NS and, especially at slower playback speeds, can attend to the manner in which the sequence was spoken. While the tool is currently being commercialised for the study of English as a foreign language (EFL), it can be applied to any spoken language. The current paper examines why the technology works and its place in modern language learning