Friday, April 6, 2012

Embodied "Etiquette-cal" intelligibility

Although not explicitly or systematically part of EHIEP work thus far, the connection to nonverbal communication, at least some of those paralinguistic behaviours that are considered "distracting" by native English speakers, is worth keeping in mind. For an interesting look at what one model of that repertoire in North American business community, take a quick look at the 2nd edition of "Business Etiquette for Dummies." Even the list on the linked promo is revealing. That is not to say that BE4D should be used as a course book for instruction but it is fascinating to observe just how many "tips" relate to body movement, gesture and general speaking style to create a "model," confident business professional identity. (It is reasonably balanced from a gender perspective as well.) It should be relatively easy to begin with that overall framework and develop a set of guidelines for embodied intelligibility related to the pedagogical movement patterns that we use. (For example, controlled use of upper torso motion to embody speech rhythm and pace.) All the great voice and body training systems involve similar procedures and principles. It should be our "business" to do some of that as well. 

3 comments:

Bill Acton said...

In the post, I link to an article by Pickering on intelligibility in ELF. It has a good definition of intelligibility based on Levis (2005):http://www.jlevis.public.iastate.edu/intelligibility.ppt

Angelina Van Dyke said...

This was a good read. Pickering presents the issue well as far as seeing a need to check rampant pluricentricity in ELF as cited in Jenkins. The handwriting is on the wall as far as inner circle users being the gatekeepers of international English standards. Quite frankly, I don't like this. It is, after all, MY language. (Then again, it has always been the history of English to be inclusive. It's really a mongrel language. Maybe I should learn Dutch and stick to it!) I don't like the idea either of having an international federation of researchers across the language disciplines forged to create standard of intelligibility. But I guess, someone has to be in control and get the job done. Are you going to be on the team, Bill?

Bill Acton said...

You make a great point. The new "IntelligiBillies" are no less iconoclastic in their characterization of "Colonial English" and its children. As a realist, I am supportive of the general intelligibility paradigm but its politics and selective research agendas are no less problematic. Surprise.

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