Monday, May 14, 2012

3-second hugs and pronunciation practice!

Talk about short attention span. Turns out that most everything we do as humans (and the same applies to animals) is processed at some level in 3 second chunks--even hugs. Research in language development and use confirms the same principle: relatively short chunks of speech or text are fundamental to understanding. What is fascinating about that study and others like it is what it may tell us about how to best present and work with language, especially pronunciation. In other words, if we want something to be "absorbed" or anchored well, there is an optimal packaging, rhythm or even visual configuration. There is in fact, as shown by studies of learning and training in various disciplines. As elaborated in several earlier blogposts, HICP is based on the idea of using "pedagogical movement patterns (PMPs)," hands moving through the visual field with one touching the other on prominent syllables. None of the PMPs are 3 seconds in duration but the time interval occupied by one such action, including the "silence" preceding and following certainly fits within that model. A sentence or phrase may be longer than 3-seconds, of course, although for conversational interaction, at moderate speaking pace, that can be pretty demanding for beginning and intermediate learners, but it will typically still consist of two or more PMPs when practiced--reflecting basic conversational rhythm. Just imagine--in some other less interpersonal touch-averse culture and time--a typical "hug-as-haptic-anchor" used in the classroom with the "peak" squeeze occurring on the prominent syllable of a utterance being articulated such as "How wonderful to have interACTed with you in class today, Joe!"


Angelina Van Dyke said...

In our touch-averse culture would a hand shake or squeeze suffice?

Bill Acton said...

I have tried that some in classes for business people. There just isn't much you can do w/it, however. It gets hokey very quickly! (And I have a couple of "horror" stories I'd be glad to share off line!)

Angelina Van Dyke said...

Whatever the horror story it can't be worse than my "lip roll squat"!

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