Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pronunciation improvement: analyze or empathize?

Just not at the same time, according to new research on the interplay between analytic and emotional processing in the brain (Summarized by Science Daily) by Jack and colleagues at Case Western Reserve. One of the conclusions: "Empathetic and analytic thinking are, at least to some extent, mutually exclusive in the brain." Turns out, both types of processing occur in the same "channel," in the same neurological network, so to speak. (An earlier post, The change-the-channel fallacy, addressed some similar questions in relation to basic pronunciation change, and why, for example, oral repetition as a strategy to correct an "incorrect" articulation may not be effective in many cases.) That also explains, in part, how meta-cognitive (analysis, monitoring, reflection, planning) activity can compete with embodiment (affect, movement, felt-sense of articulation and vocal resonance) for the attention of the learner. It's sort of analogous to just not having enough "band width" to handle all the messaging.

Or it would be something like trying to listen to Fraser and Dornyei simultaneously . . . Fraser in your right ear; Dorneyi, in your left--which would be a terrific idea for a symposium, by the way. (Dornyei's new website is a gold mine of free downloads, by the way--as is Fraser's.

No comments:

Post a Comment