Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The David Alan Stern system: A step up! (and a step down!)

I have been meaning to acknowledge the work of David Alan Stern for some time now. For several years, beginning about 25 years ago, I used aspects of his system in accent reduction work quite successfully. Were I still doing that kind of work, I'd probably still be using some of his more recent dialect materials. His novel kinaesthetic/somatic approach involves many of the same principles as HICP--without the haptic emphasis. On his FAQ page are two fascinating questions which are linked to audio recordings of his answers:
"Why muscularity and resonance before pronunciation?"
"Why melody and rhythm changes before pronunciation work?"

Muscularity (range of movement and flexibility), resonance (throughout the vocal apparatus), melody (intonation) and rhythm before pronunciation? What he means by "pronunciation" is basically sounds practiced in context, once the essential preliminaries have been taught. In EHIEP we essentially work on those four "up front" also (haptically, rather than just kinaesthetically) in almost the same order,  just reversing rhythm and intonation.  Stern's signature technique, "step up and/or down" (literally) in learning intonation contours and some expressive elements, consistently produced excellent results. Although Stern's method is not as generally "adaptable" (or as efficient in anchoring) as EHIEP it is still very good stuff--a STEP UP from most!

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