Saturday, July 9, 2011

How sound touches us

There have been many relatively recent studies of synaesthetic metaphor (combing senses, e.g., a moving speech, a sharp flavor) in various disciplines. In a 1996 study by Day, it was shown, for example, that in English literature, the dominate synaesthetic metaphor tends to be "sound-touch," such as a "piercing scream." In music metalanguage, the audio-tactile metaphors related to pitch, loudness and other qualities are so pervasive that it would be nearly inconceivable to speak of musical sound otherwise (e.g., G-sharp or G-flat).

The cognitive-affective-visual-auditory-kinesthetic-tactile "hexus" (see earlier "hexus" post) that is a word or sound in language can be  committed to memory or accessed in any number of ways, but that close affinity between touch and sound, both metaphorically and neuro-physiologically, is especially relevant in teaching pronunciation.

The EHIEP system, with about a dozen distinct touch types tied to pedagogical movement patterns that anchor L2 sounds and sound structures, is certainly a sound, touching step in the right direction . . .

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