Student-created Resources

Funetics: an application to improve oral English for Chinese international students

Developers: Hang Jiang & Paul Lee

Course: Sounds of Human Language (Spring 2017)

Instructor: Dr. Yu Li

About us:

Paul Lee: B.S. Math & Computer Science (Spring 2017).

Hang Jiang: B.S. Computer Science & Linguistics (Spring 2018) 

Download and Use:

Please download the application using the following URL:

After downloading and unzipping, the folder will contain three files. The manual will have more information about how to use the application. Double click the funetics.jar file to use the app. A tutorial about phonetics is also included under the foler.

Please note: when opening the .jar file, you may have to grant the application administrative rights on Windows. On a mac, you may have to right click the file and press "open". When a warning message pops up, allow it to open anyway.

About Funetics:

Speaking English well is a big challenge for Chinese international students because Chinese accent often accompanies them, which many of them want to work on but nobody teaches them. As a result, Paul and I decided to develop a tool that can easily facilitate their oral English by teaching them some articulatory rules and showing them examples in an interactive way. Funetics is such an Application that allows users to learn articulatory rules, listen to standard pronunciations, record their own voice, and practice their oral English in order to better their English accent.

This application is based on IBM API for speech-to-text and text-to-speech translation and Words API for International Phonetic Alphabets (IPA) transcription. The front-end interface is built using Java Graphical User Interface (GUI). The tutorial is developed by adopting the structure of the website 7 English Pronunciation Pitfalls For Chinese Speakers. We also integrated the materials from the website For speakers of Chinese languages | Doctors Speak Up. and 6 English Words that Chinese Speakers mispronounce to create more rules for our users. We also consulted the book A Course in Phonetics written Ladefoged to describe the rules in a linguistic way.

This is the final project for the course Sounds of Human Language taught by Dr. Yu Li in Spring 2017. This application is only for education purpose. No commercial use is allowed.

Source code and more information about the application can be found at the Github page:

If you have any question or idea about this app, please contact us using the following information:

Hang Jiang:

Paul Lee:



Phonetics Learning Module: Assimilation

Marissa Russell

Course: Sounds of Human Language (Spring 2017)

Instructor: Dr. Yu Li

As a linguistics major, whenever I need to learn a new concept I consistently have to visit multiple sites in order to gain access to the materials necessary to obtaining an adequate grasp on the subject.  Upon exploring the learning materials available for one particular phonological concept–assimilation–I encountered the same problem. The main goal in the creation of this learning module is to provide students with significant amounts of information while also including exercises and real-world applications to help them retain it–all in one comprehensive website.

The site includes audio files for the examples, a discussion board, and printable worksheets, which allow the students to utilize different forms of media to keep their focus and help them master the concepts. Examples are provided in multiple languages.

I also include printable worksheets with practice exercises for students that prefer hard copies of their materials and/or do not always have access to a computer. The exercises focus on assimilation from different angles to provide well-rounded practice. Answers are provided for each worksheet. There are also exercises available in the form of online quizzes, which also approach assimilation from different angles and provide graded feedback and explanations for each question. There are also other interesting topics relating to assimilation (tongue twisters, for example) available for students who want to gain a more in-depth understanding of the concept.

Lastly, the module contains a discussion board for any questions or comments that students may have. This helps keep the website up-to-date, as students can seek clarification whenever they need it. Because language is constantly changing–especially in the field of phonetics–this is an invaluable tool to discuss current trends about assimilation/phonetics more broadly and make real-world connections. In addition, the ability to teach another about a concept has proven to be an effective way of facilitating learning. The discussion board will allow students to answer the questions of their peers with their newfound expertise.