|Clip art: Clker|
As reported in Science Daily--and what I could get from looking over a pdf of the tables in the $32 article in the journal, Nature Neuroscience--the study by Wilhelm, of the University of Tübingen and colleagues, demonstrates convincingly that sleep after motor training significantly enhances both facility in doing the motor sequence task later but also development of an explicit, conscious understanding of the patterning involved That kids are better than adults is no surprise, but the additional finding that a night's sleep, as opposed to an intervening day of normal activities in living, was significantly better in facilitating development of a conscious understanding of the underlying patterning is big. (No hint of that was provided during the motor training.)
The interplay in pronunciation work between providing explicit rules for sound change and doing various kinds of implicit oral practice is central to the process. Especially in HICP work, where motor routines are associated with the targeted sounds and linguistic structures, this research has interesting implications, to be sure. Bottom line: At least in some phases of haptic pronunciation work, the time of day when practice is done may make a difference. Will work on that concept and get back to you. Something to sleep on . . .