Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Disembodied pronunciation teaching

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
In an interesting 2008 review of " . .  . recommended pronunciation teaching approaches and techniques that are otherwise dispersed throughout the literature . . "Gilner, of Nagoya Foreign Language University, presents what I would term the "state of the art in disembodied pronunciation teaching." (See earlier post on pronunciation teaching as performance art.) It is actually a pretty good summary of the various approaches, basically two paragraphs on each. A concise reference . . . sort of.  What is missing is any reference to the somatic, other than a note from cognitive phonologist Fraser (2006) that ", , , methods that work well “are based on the insight that pronunciation is a cognitive skill… [and] involves both ‘knowing’ things (subconsciously) about language, and being able to do things physically with the body . . . '"

Although most generally mention that you might use kinaesthetic anchors such as rubber bands, hand clapping or other "things with the body," at least paying "lip service" to kinaesthetic--or even haptic engagement, that is, I think, an accurate picture of the field today. Gilner is also right about the pieces of methods being "dispersed throughout the [body of the] literature." This is clearly the end of pronunciation teaching as we know it, scattered and disembodied . . . or the beginning. Keep in touch. 

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