Okim Kang, PhD

Okim Kang Director of the Applied Linguistics Lab
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., Johnson, D., & Kermad, A. (contract in process). Discourse prosody and computer modeling.
  • Kang, O., Thomson, R., & Murphy, J. (2017). The Routledge handbook of contemporary English pronunciation. New York: Routledge.
  • Kang, O., & Ginther, A. (2017). Assessment in Second Language Pronunciation. New York: Routledge.

Selected Journal Articles and Other Publications 

  • Kang, O., Thomson, R., & Moran, M. (in press). The effects of international accents and shared L1 on listening comprehension tests. TESOL Quarterly
  • Kang, O., & Johnson, D. (2018). Contribution of suprasegmental to English speaking proficiency: Human rater and automated scoring system. Language Assessment Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/15434303.2018.1451531 (online access: https://doi.org/10.1080/15434303.2018.1451531)
  • Kang, O., & Johnson, D. (2018). Automated English proficiency scoring of unconstrained speech using prosodic features. Speech Prosody. [link will be provided later.]
  • Kang, O., & Moran, M. (in press).  Enhancing communication between ITAs and US undergraduate students through structured contact activities. In S. Looney & L. Harklau (eds). A Transdisciplinary Approach to ITA Research: Implications for Practice and Policy. England: Routledge.
  • Kermad, A., & Kang, O. (in press). Prosody in Second Language Pragmatics.   In S. Gass, A. Mackey, & N. Taguchi. (eds). The Routledge Handbook of SLA and Pragmatics.  England: Routledge.
  • Kang, O., & Moran, M. (in press).  Intelligibility of accented speech in the context of World  Englishes.  Ockey, G., & Wagner, E. (Eds.), Emerging Issues in the Assessment of Second Language Listening, John Benjamin.
  • Kang, O., Thomson, R., & Moran, M. (2018). Empirical approaches to measuring intelligibility of different varieties of English in predicting listener comprehension of tests. Language Learning, 68 (1), 115-146. 
  • Johnson, D., & Kang, O. (2017). Comparison of algorithms to divide noisy phone sequences into syllables for automatic unconstrained English speaking proficiency scoring. The  Artificial Intelligence Review. 1-24. DOI: 10.1007/s10462-107-9594-y.
  • Ghanem, R., & Kang, O. (2017). Linguistic features in L2 pronunciation. In O. Kang & A. Ginther (Eds.). Assessment in Second Language Pronunciation (pp. 115-136). England: Routledge.
  • Kang, O., & Kermad, A. (2017). Assessment in L2 pronunciation. In O. Kang, R. Thomson, & J. Murphy (Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary English Pronunciation (pp. 511-526). England: Routledge.
  • Johnson, D., & Kang, O. (2017). Measures of Intelligibility in Different Varieties of English: Human vs. Machine. Proceedings of the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 8, 58-72.   
  • Kermad, A., & Kang, O. (2017). Teacher/Student relationship. In S. Salas (Eds.). TESOL Encyclopedia:  Adminstrative/Organizational issues, Volume 15.
  • Kang, O., & Ghanem, R. (2016). Self-Assessments on the best point in target study for overseas immersion. Journal of Language Teaching and Research7 (5), 819-828.
  • Kang, O., Moran, M., & Vo, S. (2016). Perceptual judgments of accented speech by listeners from different first language backgrounds. TESL-EJ, 20.  http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume20/ej77/ej77a1/
  • Johnson, D., Kang, O., & Ghanem, R. (2016). Improved automatic English proficiency rating of unconstrained speech with multiple corpora. International Journal of Speech Technology. DOI: 10.1007/s10772-016-9366-0.
  • Johnson, D., & Kang, O. (2016). Automatic detection of Brazil’s prosodic tone unit. Speech Prosody. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5tX0NnTCf-IV0wwbUw3a2FGWVE/view
  • Johnson, D., Kang, O., & Ghanem, R. (2016). Language proficiency rating: Human versus Machine. Proceedings of the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 7, 119-129.     
  • Johnson, D., & Kang, O. (2016). Automatic prosodic tone choice classification with Brazil's intonation model. International Journal of Speech Technology 19 (1),95-109.
  • Kang, O., & Johnson, D. O (2015). Comparison of Inter-rater Reliability of Human and Computer Prosodic Annotation Using Brazil’s Prosody Model. English Linguistics Research, 4(4), 58-68.
  • Johnson, D., & Kang, O. (2015). Automatic prominent syllable detection with machine learning classifiers. International Journal of Speech Technology 18, (4), 583-592.
  • Kang, O. & Moran, M. (2015). Enhancing communication between undergraduate student and International teaching assistants. Studies in Graduate and Professional Student Development. 169-201.
  • Kang, O., Rubin, D., & Lindemann, S.  (2015). Using contact theory to improve US undergraduates’ attitudes toward international teaching assistants. TESOL Quarterly. 49, 681-706.
  • 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. (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). Relative impact of pronunciation features on non-native speakers’ oral proficiency. In J. Levis & K. LeVelle (Eds.), Proceedings of the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching. Iowa State University. 
  • 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 Most Recent Presentations 

  • Kermad, A., & Kang, O. (2018).  Impact of rater training on reduction of trait-irrelevant factors:  Rater Background and Attitudinal Characteristics on Oral Proficiency Scores. Language Assessment Research Forum 2018, Ames, Iowa. 
  • Kang, O., & Johnson, D. (2018). The roles of suprasegmental features in predicting English oral proficiency with an automated system.” Language Assessment Research Forum 2018, Ames, Iowa. 
  • Kang, O. et al.  (2018). “The Effect of Contexts on Speech Evaluation in Non-Native Speaker Oral Performance. AAAL, Chicago. 
  • Moran, M., & Kang, O. (2018). Enhancing Communication between ITAs and U.S. Undergraduate Students.” 2018, AAAL.
  • Staples, S., & Kang, O. (2017). Corpus linguistics and pronunciation analysis. Workshops, Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching, Salt Lake: Utah.
  • Kermad, A., & Kang, O. (2017). Timing of speech evaluation. Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching, Salt Lake: Utah.
  • Kang, O., Ahn, H., Moran, M., & Park, S. (2017). The effect of proficiency on listening comprehension and intelligibility. Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Salt Lake: Utah.
  • Kang, O., & Moran, M. (2017). Listeners’ perception and characteristics of accented speech. Colloquium. AAAL.
  • Kermad, A., Kang, O., & Taguchi, N. (2017). The use of prosodic patterns by L2 learners in speech acts. AAAL, Portland, OR.
  • Kang, O., Ahn, H., & Moran, M. (2017). The effect of listener proficiency on comprehension and intelligibility of accented Speech. AAAL, Portland, OR.
  • Kermad, A., & Kang, O. (2016). Relative impact of tasks on learners’ pronunciation. SLRF, New York.
  • Kang, O., & Johnson, D. (2016). Measures of Intelligibility in varieties of English: Human vs. Machine. Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching. Calgary, Canada. 
  • Johnson, D., & Kang, O. (2016). Automatic detection of Brazil’s prosodic tone unit. Speech Prosody 2016.  Boston, MA.
  • Kang, O., Moran, M, & Thomson, R. (2016). Threshold of intelligibility in varieties of World Englishes. AAAL, Orlando, FL.
  • Kang, O. (March, 2016). Reverse linguistic stereotyping and learners’ perception. Sociolinguistic Variation and Language Processing" (SVALP), Featured Speaker, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

Selected External Grants 

  • Language Learning Roundtable Grant program (2019).
  • Linguistic analysis of speaking performance and automated extraction. British Council Research Grants (2017-2018).
  • TOEFL Committee of Examiners (COE) Research Grants, ETS (2013-2017): 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 

  • Language Learning Scholar-in-Residence 2016 Scholar
  • 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.