Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to create great, moving, memorable (movie) lines

In this study by Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil et al of Cornell University, summarized by ScienceDaily, the secret of coming up with great movie lines was discovered. They should have " . . . familiar sentence structure but incorporating distinctive words or phrases, and  . . . make general statements that could apply elsewhere." and contain " . . . more sounds made in the front of the mouth (italics, mine), words with more syllables and fewer coordinating conjunctions." If you were attempting to characterize the ideal type of conversational language or phrases in which to anchor pronunciation change, that would not be a bad framework to use either. Note the finding relating to the vowel quality evident in those "memorable" lines: in the front of the mouth. Several earlier posts have cited research in the phonaesthetics of vowel quality, confirming the more vivid and engaging nature of front vowels--the vowels positioned in the similarly more vivid and engaging area of the right visual field (as established in other studies) in the EHIEP system. (Conversely, those same vowels are traditionally located in the left visual field in the standard IPA vowel chart or ESL/EFL pronunciation teaching models or frameworks.) Add to those features of the optimally memorable conversational expression a haptic-integrated anchor (a pedagogical movement pattern terminating in touch--usually of both hands or one hand to the upper torso) and you, indeed, have a potentially memorable line. In fact, it is just the ticket!

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