Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pronunciation discrimination: Say it right now . . . hear it later (and vice versa)

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
There have been a few studies which suggest that pronunciation training improves aural discrimination and aural comprehension, including this one from 2001 by Ghorban and others. Most research in the last three decades in this area, for a number of reasons,  has focused on the opposite effect, that of comprehension on pronunciation or intelligibility.

One of the primary goals of HICP work is to prepare learners to be more effective "kinaesthetic" listeners who can continue improving their pronunciation beyond the classroom, essentially by being able to quickly capture the felt sense of models that they hear--and play it back haptically using the basic protocols--so that they can also either "record" it in memory or discard it.

That kinaesthetic monitoring and listening are generally seen as the final benchmarks of EHIEP training. At will, learners can "feel" phrases or sentences in their bodies, whether listening to themselves or someone else. Kinaesthetic monitoring generally does not interfere with conversation, allowing one to detect errors in performance and deal with them later, rather than right at that instant. Kinaesthetic listening works the same way, like an independent flash drive, that allows later recall and redo. Got a good feel for what we're saying here? If so, it'll sound even better later. 

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