Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ichabod's Fallacy: Don't move the body

"Investigating a crime scene at Sleepy Hollow, Constable Ichabod Crane becomes agitated: "You have moved the body?" he inquires, with accusatory presumption of an affirmative answer, which the guilty party sheepishly supplies: "I did." "You must never move the body!" Ichabod snaps, with great severity."Why not?" ventures the tremulous lecturee. "Be-cause," intones Ichabod, with high seriousness and finality."

The very notion of explicitly controlling learner body movement during pronunciation instruction to the extent that HIPoeces requires strikes many instructors as over the top, disconcerting--or at least  unnecessary. There are any number of reasons for that: cultural, psychological, and pedagogical. However, the general state of pronunciation instruction today does suggest an analogous crime scene: one where the body is missing--with many authorities (so to speak) riding around with their heads cut off . . . from the problem and the solution!

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