Thursday, August 16, 2012

Need a little more "punch" in your pronunciation teaching?

One of the techniques taught in the EHIEP system involves a sparring action, much like a boxer shadow boxing. It has been alluded to in previous blogs, from various perspectives. Its basic function is to help learners experience and develop more compact, conversational speaking style. Of all the techniques it is unquestionably the "fastest acting" in affecting rate of speech and general "packaging" of rhythm groups. It not only results in more "processing" time on either end of each group of syllables, but, more importantly, it seems to engage the entire body in the process and felt sense of English rhythm. A study by researchers at  Imperial College London and University College London of how karate masters produce such powerful "punches" may also suggest something of why the "Rhythm Fight Club" (Linked is the pair-training version) works as it does. What fMRI analysis of the structure of the "masters" brains when they were in "punch" mode revealed was this:

"The karate black belts were able to repeatedly coordinate their punching action with a level of coordination that novices can't produce. We think that ability might be related to fine tuning of neural connections in the cerebellum, allowing them to synchronise their arm and trunk movements very accurately."

This gives new meaning to the concept of "mastering" a grammatical or phonological pattern. Trust me. This IS worth fighting over!

1 comment:

Angelina Van Dyke said...

While movement activates the cerebellum, phonological and lexical patterns overlaid on top utilize the STG and Broca's area, and you achieve neural integration in language processing. Yeah?

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