Thursday, November 3, 2011

Embodied exercise: dancing your way to better pronunciation, health, L2 identity and expressiveness!

Clip art:
Several previous posts have alluded to "embodiment theory" as it is developed in different disciplines. One of the more relevant applications is in dance, especially ballet. This one, Klemola 1991, makes an interesting observation as to the functions and purposes of general physical exercise:

(a) To "win," be the best,  
(b) Maintain optimal strength and health, 
(c) Expand expressive capability, and 
(d) Explore and articulate self identity. 

Embodied (HICP/EHIEP) pronunciation work involves all four functions, even (b)--see earlier "breathing" and posture-related posts. Expressiveness (c) and identity (d) have also been addressed earlier but a brief elaboration might be helpful here. One of the most powerful effects of haptic anchoring is enhanced ability to manage range of expressiveness, particularly intonation. (In fact, for a time I was using the term "expressive pronunciation" for the entire system.) In the L2 identity literature the focus is principally on the psychological or psycho-social dimension. The HICP perspective on L2 identity adaptation is more Lessac-based, seeing no useful mind/body distinction and beginning formative work "from the body, outward."

Feeling a bit disembodied lately? Not yourself? Can't dance?  Out of shape? It may be your pronunciation teaching.

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