Universitat de Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 2633-2639
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The spoken language is assuming increasing importance in modern-day society as a result of the broadened range of communication media, particularly audiovisual ones. In addition, in a culture like Catalonia which is currently coping with sweeping social change and immigration movements it is becoming more and more important to have tools available which will help non-Catalan-speakers begin to speak Catalan in both academic contexts as well as their everyday lives.

It is with this goal in mind that the University of Barcelona’s FONCAT Group for Innovation in Teaching Practices has developed a website called A guide to the pronunciation of Catalan. Ultimately the website is intended to help speakers of a wide range of languages in their acquisition of Catalan, but for the moment the website is aimed in particular at either Spanish-speakers who are embarking on the study of Catalan for the first time or current Catalan-speakers who come from a Spanish-speaking background and whose pronunciation of Catalan therefore reflects interference from Spanish phonology.

The home page of the website ( offers a table showing the sounds of Catalan which may be converted by means of a pull-down menu into a chart comparing Catalan sounds with those of a stipulated language (the only one offered at the moment being Spanish).

Sounds in the comparative chart are colour-coded as follows:
a) Sounds which Catalan shares with the language selected and which therefore present no difficulties for the learner are colour-coded green.
b) Sounds which exist in Catalan but not in the language being compared are colour-coded red.
c) Sounds which exist in the language selected but not in Catalan are colour-coded blue.
d) Sounds which are shared by the two languages but display different distributions in each are colour-coded yellow.

A mouse click on each of the sounds in groups b, c and d takes the user to a set of activities, which (for the moment) are designed to help new students to pronounce Catalan or Spanish-background speakers of Catalan to fine-tune their pronunciation.

These explanatory and practice activities are of various sorts:
a) Explanatory audiovisual clips which demonstrate the pronunciation of sounds that are likely to be difficult for the learner.
b) Discrimination and repetition exercises using audiovisual clips.
c) Selections from Catalan oral folklore intended to illustrate the sound in context and thus facilitate acquisition.

In the present talk we will present preliminary findings supporting the effectiveness of this website as a tool for teaching the sounds of Catalan. These findings come from our work with a small group of University of Barcelona students who were having difficulty pronouncing particular sounds. These students were enrolled in a course called “Genres and formats of oral communication” offered by the Faculty of Communication and Culture Industries during the 2012-2013 academic year. The course consisted of both lectures and practical activities conducted both inside and outside the classroom over the duration of the term, including text analysis, the drafting of broadcast scripts and the preparation of formal spoken texts.
Phonetics, articulatory habits, speech correction, speech Internet assessment.