Monday, May 7, 2012

See hear! (Moving sounds in haptic-integrated pronunciation instruction)

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Scientists at Cal Tech have recently uncovered " . . . a type of synesthesia in which individuals hear sounds, such as tapping, beeping, or whirring, when they see things move or flash." Turns out that areas of the brain in the visual cortext responsible for movement in such cases are connected up to auditory processing a little more intimately than normal. What I liked was the "inventory of sounds" there: tapping, beeping and whirring--the very kinds of sounds that accompany haptic anchoring: beeping (vowels), tapping (the sound of hands touching in 4 different styles) and whirring (general percussive, consonant articulation or brushing motions across the upper body.) And the "flash" analogy also works to emphasize the intensity of concentration or attention involved in real, multiple-modality engagement. The basic idea of haptic-integration, of course, is to create that very kind of felt-sense "hexus" of orthography, sounds, movement, visual field anchoring, meaning and body resonance, as reported earlier. I feel compelled to even offer an appropriate, haptic neologism, something like "Haptic-seize'ya?" 

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