Sunday, June 12, 2011

The felt sense of a new or "replacement" vowel: Y-buzz and beyond

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The first phase of EHIEP training is involved with haptically anchoring the vowels of English. Even if the learner "has" a vowel already in his or her repertoire, it is essential that a new and more focused, conscious awareness of the somatic qualities of the vowel be established to facilitate later change and monitoring of spontaneous speaking.

That concept is based on Lessac's notion of the "Y-buzz" sensation. Here is a 2007 study by Barrichelo and Behlau that looked at the perceptual salience of that highly resonant sound/sensation, as opposed to "normal" production by subjects of the acoustically similar [i] sound (as in the word, "me,' for example.) The unique, therapeutically created Y-buzz vowel felt sense is the model for our work. The learner's ability to produce the Y-buzz is almost entirely body-based, not auditory. In that way, the learner can produce it without having to "go through" the possibly "defective" [i] vowel in his or her current interlanguage phonology. (See earlier post on "changing the channel.")

Need to put a little more "buzz" in your teaching?

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