Okim Kang, PhD

Okim Kang Associate Professor
Northern Arizona University
Applied Linguistics
Blg 23 Rm #316
Phone: 928-523-2059
Applied Linguistics Speech Lab


Special Interests

  • Speech Production & Perception
  • L2 Pronunciation & Intelligibility
  • L2 Oral Assessment and Testing
  • Automated Scoring & Speech Recognition
  • World Englishes
  • Language Attitude
  • Language Learning Outcome Assessment
  • Second Language Acquisition


  • Ph.D., 2008. University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • M.A., 2003, University of Auckland, New Zealand


  • Kang, O., Thomson, R., & Murphy, J. (under contract). The Routledge Handbook of English Pronunciation. New York: Routledge.
  • Kang, O., & Ginther, A. (under contract). Assessment in Second Language Pronunciation. New York: Routledge.

Selected Journal Articles and Other Publications

  • Johnson, D. O., & Kang, O. (2015). Automatic prominent syllable detection with machine learning classifiers. International Journal of Speech Technology, 1-10.
  • Kang, O., Moran, M., & Vo, S. (in press). Perceptual judgments of accented speech by listeners from different first language backgrounds. TESL-EJ.
  • Kang, O, & Moran, M. (forthcoming).  Intelligibility of accented speech in the context of World  EnglishesOckey, G., & Wagner, E. (Eds.), Emerging Issues in the Assessment of Second Language Listening, John Benjamin.
  • Kang, O. (forthcoming). Linguistic features in L2 pronunciation. In O. Kang & A. Ginther (Eds.). Assessment in Second Language Pronunciation. England: Routledge.
  • Kang, O. (forthcoming). Assessment in L2 pronunciation. In O. Kang, R. Thomson, & J. Murphy (Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of English Pronunciation. England: Routledge
  • Kang, O., & Digirolamo, A. (in press). Teacher/Student relationship. In S. Salas (Eds.). TESOL Encyclopedia:  Adminstrative/Organizational issues, Volume 15.
  • Cuyul, M., & Kang, O. (forthcoming). Listening and Speaking Class for Eighth-grade Students in Patagonia, Chile. In J. Murphy & K. Sippell. (Eds). Teaching the Pronunciation of English:  Illustrations of Whole Courses.
  • Kang, O. & Moran, M. (2015). Enhancing communication between undergraduate students and International teaching assistants. Studies in Graduate and Professional Student Development. 169-201.
  • Kang, O., Rubin, D, & Lindemann, S.  (2014). Using contact theory to improve US undergraduates’ attitudes toward international teaching assistants. TESOL Quarterly. 10.1002/tesq.192
  • Tracey, D., Fraser, H., Kang, O., & Thompson, R. (2014). Accent and ethics: Issues that merit attention. In A. Mahboob and L. Barratt (Eds.), English in a multilingual context (pp. 63-80).
  • Kang, O., & Wang, L. (accepted). Linguistic features distinguishing examinees’ speaking performances at different proficiency levels. Language Testing.
  • Kang, O., & Wang, L. (2014). Impact of different task types on candidates' speaking performances. Research Notes, 55.
  • Kang, O. (2014). Students' perceptions of pronunciation instruction in the three circles of World Englishes. TESOL Journal. DOI: 10.1002/tesj.146
  • Staples, S., Kang, O., & Wittner, E. (2014). Impacting undergraduates' perceptions of ITSs through institutionally supported contact. English for Specific Purposes, 35, 54-65.
  • Kang, O., & Moran, M. (2014). Pronunciation features in non-native speakers’ oral performances. TESOL Quarterly, 48,173-184.
  • Kang, O., & Rubin, D. (2014). Reverse linguistic stereotyping. In J. Levis and A. Moyer (Eds.), Social influence in L2 pronunciation: Trends in Applied Linguistics (pp. 239-254). De Gruyter.
  • Kang, O. (2013). Linguistic analysis of speaking features distinguishing general English exams at CEFR levels B1 to C2 and examinee L1 backgrounds. Research Notes, 52, 40-48.
  • Kang, O., & Pickering, L. (2013). Using acoustic and temporal analysis for assessing speaking. In A. Kunnan (Ed.),Companion to Language Assessment (pp.1047-1062). Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Kang, O. (2012). Impact of rater characteristics on ratings of international teaching assistants’ oral performance. Language Assessment Quarterly, 9, 249-269.
  • Kang, O, & Rubin, D. (2012). Intra-rater reliability of oral proficiency ratings. Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment, 12, 43-61.
  • Kang, O.. & Rubin, D. (2012). Inter-group contact exercises as a tool for mitigating undergraduates’ attitudes toward ITAs. Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, 23 (3), 159-166.
  • Kang, O. (2011). ESL students’ perceptions of pronunciation instruction in inner circle countries. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 17, 99-106.
  • Kang, O., & Pickering, L. (2011). The role of objective measures of suprasegmental features in judgments of comprehensibility and oral proficiency in L2 spoken discourse. Speak Out, 44, 4-8.
  • Kang, O., Rubin, D., Pickering, L. (2010). Suprasegmental measures of accentedness and judgments of English language learner proficiency in oral English. Modern Language Journal, 94, 554-566.
  • Kang, O. (2010). ESL Learners’ attitudes toward pronunciation instruction and varieties of English. In J. Levis & K. LeVelle (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1st Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (pp. 105-118). Ames, IA: Iowa State University.
  • Kang, O. (2010). Salient prosodic features on judgments of second language accent. Speech Prosody. http://speechprosody2010.illinois.edu/papers/100016.pdf
  • Kang, O. (2010). Relative salience of suprasegmental features on judgments of L2 comprehensibility and accentedness. System, 38, 301-315.
  • Kang, O., & Rubin, D. (2009). Reverse linguistic stereotyping: Measuring the effect of listener expectations on speech evaluation. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 28, 441-456.
  • Kang, O. (2008). The effect of rater background characteristics on the rating of International Teaching Assistants Speaking Proficiency. Spaan Fellow Working Papers, 6, 181-205.
  • Rubin, D., & Kang, O. (2008). Writing to speak: What goes on across the two way street. In D. Belcher, D., and A. Hirvela, (Eds.), The oral/literate connection: Perspectives on L2 speaking/writing connections. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Selected Recent Presentations

  • Johnson, D., Kang, O., & Ghanem, R. (2015). Language proficiency rating: Human versus Machine. Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching, Dallas, TX. 
  • Kang, O., Moran, M., & Thomson (March, 2015). Intelligibility of different varieties of English:  The effects of incorporating “accented” English into high-stakes assessment, AAAL, Toronto, Canada.
  • Kang, O, & Ghanem, R. (March, 2015). Student expectation and stereotyping of English teachers in ESL classrooms, TESOL Convention, Toronto, Canada.
  • Kang, O., Moran, M., & Thomson, R. (Sept, 2015). Pronunciation Features of Intelligible Speech Among Different Varieties of World Englishes, Pronunciation Second Language Learning and Teaching, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Ghanem, R., & Kang, O. (June, 2015). Nonnative Student Expectation and  Linguistic Stereotyping of English Teachers in an ESL Context,  International Conference on Language and Social Psychology, Honolulu, Hawai'i.
  • Kang, O., & Zhuang, Y., (March, 2015). ESL Learners’ Linguistic (Pronunciation, Grammar and Lexicon) development in the ESL Immersion Context. AAAL, Portland, OR
  • Moran, M., & Kang, O. (2014). Enhancing communication between US undergraduates and international students through structured contact activities. AAAL, Portland, OR.
  • Kang, O., & Wang, L. (2014). The impact of task types and communicative features on examinees' speaking performances at different proficiency levels. AAAL, Portland, OR.
  • Kang, O. (2014). Linguistic features in oral assessment. Keynote Speaker. The ASU Linguistics/TESOL Graduate Student Symposium.
  • Kang, O. (2013). English learners’ pronunciation gains in the ESL context. New Sounds, Montreal, Canada. 
  • Kang, O., & Wang, L. (2013). Linguistic features that distinguish examinees’ proficiency levels. American Association for Applied Linguistics, Dallas, Texas.
  • Kang, O. (2013). Pronunciation Research and Practice in EFL Contexts. TESOL 2013 Intersection (SPLIS, EFL, NNEST). TESOL Convention, Dallas, TX. 

Selected External Grants

  • TOEFL Committee of Examiners (COE) Research Grants, ETS (2013-2015): Intelligibility of Different Varieties of English in the TOEFL iBT Listening Test. 
  • Cambridge ESOL Funded Research Program (2013). Impact of Different Task Types on Candidates’ Speaking Performances and Interactive Features that Distinguish between CEFR Levels.
  • Enhancing communication between U.S. undergraduates and international students through structured contact activities, TOEFL Board Grants (2012-2013) with total of $14,997.
  • TOEFL Board Grants, ETS (2011-2012). Thresholds of second language study for oversea immersion.
  • Cambridge ESOL Funded Research Program (2011-2012). Linguistic Analysis of Speaking Features Distinguishing General English Exams at CEFR levels B1 to C2 and Examinee L1 Backgrounds.
  • TOEFL Board Grants, ETS (2010-2011). Students’ individual characteristics that predict success in studying languages abroad.
  • TOEFL COE Grants, ETS (2006-2007) with Don Rubin and Lucy Pickering. Relative Impact of Rater Intercultural and Language Background, Rater Language Attitudes, Rater Training, and Measurable Elements of Pronunciation on TOEFL iBT Speaking Proficiency Scoring.
  • Spaan Fellowship Fund: Second & Foreign Language Assessment (2006). International Teaching Assistants (ITA) Speaking Proficiency.

Patent (non-provisional)


  • Automatic prosody detection algorithms, 2015


Awards and Honors

  • Recipient of "2013 TOEFL Outstanding Young Scholar Award"
  • Recipient of “Most Promising New Scholar at NAU” 2012 award.
  • Winner of Christopher Brumfit 2009 PhD/Ed.D.Thesis Award by Cambridge University Press and the journal of Language Teaching.
  • Finalist of Jacqueline Ross TOEFL® Dissertation 2009 Award.