Friday, July 22, 2011

Pronunciation modalities: out of sight--but IN mind!.

clip art: Clker
In this 2009 study of modality dominance, by Hecht and Reiner, when visual is paired one-on-one with either haptic or auditory competing stimuli, visual consistently overpowers either of the two. When the three are presented simultaneously, however, the dominance of visual disappears. That may explain why having some learners focus on a visual schema (such as the orthography) while articulating or practicing a new sound may not turn out to be very efficient--or doing a kinesthetic "dance" of some kind to practice a rhythm pattern (without speaking at the same time) while looking at something in the visual field, may not work all that well either for some learners.

The presence of eye engagement may override or nullify information in the competing modality. In HICP, where all three modalities are usually engaged, the "distracting" influence of sight is at least lessened. In fact, the tri-modality "hexus" should only better  facilitate the integration of the graphic word, the felt (haptic) sense of producing it and the internal (auditory) bone- resonance and vibrations. Although a substantial amount of pronunciation learning may be better accomplished with eyes closed, tri-modal (haptic, visual and auditory) techniques probably come in a close second. We will "see" in forthcoming research!

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