Thursday, March 1, 2012

English (Pronunciation) for the Academically Privileged and "hypo-mentalizers"

Clipart: Ciker
Following up on the previous post, in pondering why so much of contemporary pronunciation research, methodology and materials seems to be increasingly "hyper-mentalized," it occurred to me that we should perhaps just follow the money . . .  So where, for the most part, are the learners with the resources to pay for extensive--or even, any--pronunciation instruction? You got it: higher education. (Linked is an interesting, but probably not representative, EPAP "strawman" of a syllabus. Would love to see the list of tongue twisters!) Nearly as important, however, is the nature of academic study and materials in that context: hyper-mental and hyper-textual. That group thrives (or survives) on hypothetical, metacognitive challenges, but in terms of intelligibility their needs may bear little or no resemblance to those of the immigrant or guest arbiter. It may be time to create a new pedagogical category or two: English Pronunciation instruction for the privileged academically (EPIPA!) and English Pronunciation Instruction for the "not so" (EPINS!). The irony is that, at least from our perspective, a good, less cognitive-deductive (and, of course, haptically-integrated) EPINS!-type program (for the hypo-mentalizer) which focused primarily on integrating new pronunciation, rather than understanding it and decontextualized practice, would almost certainly be more effective and efficient for most EPIPA!'s as well. If you have regular work doing EPIPA!, Congratulations! If not, no need to hyper-mentalize . . .

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