Saturday, July 2, 2011

Getting Rhythm--haptically!

Clip art: Clker
Any pronunciation teaching method text will recommend kinaesthetic techniques for practicing rhythm, such as clapping hands or rhythmic dance-like movements. How productive use of rhythm is acquired, however, remains a mystery. In L1 learning, inability to perceive rhythm, for example, may be a contributing factor in some types of autism and dyslexia. As reported in this study, at least drum rhythm can be learned haptically, in the absence of either visual or auditory input. 

In almost all HICP work, rhythm and rhythm groups are haptically anchored, accompanying, for example,  primary focus on vowels, stressed syllables and intonation contours (or tone groups.) In fact, EHIEP should be seen as very much "rhythm-centered," experienced by the learner in conversation-like rhythm groups of syllables, often accompanied by music during practice.

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