Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mindful, embodied (less-stressful) monitored speaking!

For some learners, monitoring their spontaneous speech can be very problematic, interfering with fluency . . .  or ability to think! In many schools of singing instruction, kinaesthetic monitoring is standard practice. I have done a few blogposts on kinaesthetic monitoring and mindfulness. When you combine embodiment theory with mindfulness, not unlike what is suggested by below, you get an interesting heuristic that in various forms or adaptations  can be useful in our work: (italics, mine)
Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Ckler

"As you speak, keep your main focus on your body sensations, while focusing on what you are saying secondarily. Notice the breath as it enters your body, and be aware of it as it leaves. Notice the touch points of the bodyyour sit bones and shoulders on the chair, your feet on the floor, your hands in your lap. Don’t be as concerned about what exactly it is you need to say or how people will perceive you as you say it. Your words will be just as comprehensible as before, but they’ll be more in tune with your inner presence, integrity and authenticity. One way of visualizing this is that as you speak, let the words come more from your body and less from your head."

Those are typical mindfulness-type suggestions, attention-management strategies. The debilitating effect of stress on pronunciation in various contexts is well-established. Experience has shown that the "felt sense" that embodied mindfulness techniques create can be helpful, especially for the chronically stressed and uptight in dealing with their self-monitoring (or not over-monitoring) of their pronunciation. Try it out first at your next contentious committee meeting, post-election political discussion or intimate gourmet dinner. 

1 comment:

Angelina Van Dyke said...

Just a clarification - is the pronunciation of native speakers proven to be impaired in tense situations, or just NNS?

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