Monday, December 31, 2012

Can't see how to say it right? (Self-reflective, visual-soma-kinaesthetic correction of mispronunciation)

So you try to demonstrate with your face and mouth how a learner should be pronouncing a vowel, for example--and it simply does not work. In fact, the mispronunciation may just get worse. New research by Cook of City University London, Johnston of University College London, and Heyes of the University of Oxford (Summarized by Science Daily) may suggest why: visual feedback of the difference between one's facial gesture and that of a model can be effective in promoting accommodation; simple proprioceptic feedback (i.e., trying to connect up the correct model with the movements of the muscles in your face, without seeing what you are doing simultaneously) generally does not work very well. Amen, eh.

I have had students whose brains are wired so that they can make that translation easily, but they are the exception. The solution? Sometimes a mirror works "mirror-cles;" some new software systems (noted in earlier blogs) actually does come up with a computer simulation that attempts to show the learner what is going on wrong inside the mouth and what should be instead--with apparently very modest, but expensive results.

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
The EHIEP approach is to early on anchor the positioning and movement of the jaw and tongue to pedagogical movement patterns of the arms and hands. From that perspective, it is relatively easy, at least on vowels, stress and intonation (and some consonants) to provide the learner with both visual, auditory and proprioceptic feedback simultaneously, showing both the appropriate model and how the learner's version deviates. (In fact, in some correction routines, it is better to anchor the incorrect articulation first, before going to the "correct" one.) In effect, "(Only if) Monkey see (him or her mis-speak), (can) Monkey do (anything about it!)"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spirituality the key to pronunciation teaching?

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Absolutely . . . were you a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doing English for medical purposes (EMP) pronunciation classes on the side, according to a study by Shi of Beijing Normal University and Zhang of Southwest Minzu University, as summarized by Science Daily. The holistic, mind-body-spirit approach of TCM is said to account for its effectiveness, so unfathomable to much of Western medicine.

In the West, in language teaching, we get the mind-body idea, at least in theory, but the whole notion that we might have to throw in a little spirituality as well does not sit well with most "Post-modern-post-methodology." There is currently a strong resurgence of interest in spirituality in higher education which will inevitably translate into and influence language teaching as well.

Of course, one of the earlier "affective" methods, Counseling/community language learning, was created by a Catholic priest, Charles Curran, with a very much Christian-centered spiritual growth model at its core. Likewise, for those of us who teach at faith-based institutions, something analogous to the holistic TCM perspective on spirituality is pretty much business as usual--or at least should be! What bringing spirituality into the mix does, in part, is to make the Cartesian mind-body distinction or separation even more irrelevant to effective instruction and learning, transcending both and requiring that the learner be the primary focus, not his or her language. Talk about embodiment (or incarnation)! Try it sometime . . . at least in spirit!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pronunciation feedback: the quicker, the better?

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The research on corrective feedback in language learning is extensive. The conclusions are a mixed bag, at best. I do not recall seeing a study that measured the effect of anticipated feedback, whether immediate or postponed in the literature. I had missed this 2010 study by Kettle and Haubi of the University of Alberta (summarized by Science Daily) where they looked at the impact on test scores when subjects thought that they'd be given immediate, rather than delayed feedback. Those in the first group estimated their performance to be somewhat lower but did better than the latter group, which tended to overestimate their final score.

Pronunciation feedback in general tends to be more postponed, often in the form of notes to the student or critique of audio recordings. In class, real time responses to mispronunciations are less in fashion than during earlier periods when oral accuracy was strongly promoted and learners were often pressed to speak more in class and be immediately corrected than today. In survey after survey, learners desire more spontaneous correction and instructors appear less and less likely to comply.

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A solution to that, one that we (and many others) have developed in haptic-integrated work, is to use a set of gesture-based signals (perhaps including a vowel number) to alert the learner effectively to problematic pronunciation without requiring excessive public performance. That way the learner can immediately note the problem and either deal with it "internally" or go back and work on it later, perhaps talking with the instructor or another source privately, if necessary. Just the impact of that anticipatory attitude on motivation, according to the research, is worth the cost of tuition. Can hardly wait, eh?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The pitch for teaching prosody first

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There are numerous examples of methods where either intonation is taught first in pronunciation work or shortly thereafter using techniques such as "reverse accent mimicry" or computer assisted verbal tracking or imitating actors without attending to the meanings of words. Anecdotally, they all seem to work. From a research perspective, intonation or pitch change has been employed extensively in exploring neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain "learn" and adapt. For most learners, mimicking simple pitch contours in English is not that difficult. If you examine student course books, what you find is that they all include pitch contour work but where it occurs and how much is done seems completely random.

A new study by Sober and Brainard of UCSF (summarized by Science Daily) of how song birds correct their singing draws an interesting conclusion: they fix the little mistakes and ignore the big ones. The Bengalese finches provide us with an intriguing clue as to how to organize L2 pronunciation work as well: begin with the easy stuff--not the messy articulatory problems or complex phoneme contrasts or conflicts. The arguments for establishing prosody (intonation, rhythm and stress) first are compelling at one level (theoretically) but from the perspective of measuring tangible progress, it is still difficult at best to demonstrate what has been learned, given the tools we have available today.

Children clearly learn prosody first. (In the EHIEP system intonation is now in module four but I am considering introducing it earlier, in part based on this research.) Practically speaking, doing early prosody work is relatively straightforward and not costly. You can do it for a song, in fact.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sound discrimination training: perceived "phon-haptic" distance

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Ask any Japanese EFL student how they managed to perceive and later produce the distinction between [i] and [I] or [u] and [U] in English and they'll probably tell you that it was difficult . . . or impossible. The same goes, of course, for L1/L2 phoneme mismatches for most learners, at least initially. The problem, of course, is the "competition" between phonetic or articulatory distance, that is how different, physically it is to produce two sounds, and phonemic categorical distance. If the brain "decides" that two sounds represent the same phoneme, regardless of how different it "feels" to produce them--case closed. At least that is what most research suggests. A 2004 study by Gerrits and Schouten of Utrecht University (linked here at the University of Rochester) suggests that the task used in the discrimination process can significantly impact perception of phonemic categories.

In plain English, what does that mean? Basically this: The method you use to assist learners in hearing or producing a phonemic distinction in their L2 can, itself, affect whether they get it or not. Really? Well, maybe . . .  So how do you usually do that? Do a class listening discrimination task of some kind? Give them an audio to listen to? Show them line drawings and have them repeat after you? Sit down with the learner and use a Starbucks coffee stir to get their articulators realigned?

 As described in earlier blogposts, the EHIEP approach is to establish points in the visual field where the hands touch as the sound is articulated, what we term "phon-haptically." Those points, or nodes, are strategically placed so that distinctions such as those above are experienced as being both physically distant from each other and somatically have very distinct texture or type of touch involved (tapping, pushing, scratching, brushing, twisting, etc.) The touch-type is chosen to "imitate" the felt sense of producing the vowel in the the vocal tract in some way, if only metaphorically. Does it work? Try it and let us know. Keep in touch. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The "Mudder" of all pronunciation programs

Have been trying to figure out what pronunciation systems or books are the big sellers for some time now. As you can imagine, those #s are not easy to get at. The plan is to evaluate some of the top programs for embodiment or "physical presence." Have done some preliminary analysis on a few of the student books from the big publishers which I will use as blog fodder later. ("Blog fodder" . . . nice term there, too.) The idea is to develop a more elaborated framework for applying principles of haptic anchoring to commercially available speaking, listening and pronunciation books. Will begin reporting on that project in a couple of weeks.

The basic EHIEP system provides the orientation to the sound system necessary and a set of techniques to use in working with it, but the point is that those "tools" are then ready to be applied to texts and vocabulary in content-based instruction--where the real pronunciation change actually "happens." With such integrated pronunciation instruction now the "flavor of the month," perhaps the day of the free-standing "Mudder of all pronunciation programs," with its wonderfully clear-cut "follow the yellow brick road" syllabus is over.

In part as a consequence, pronunciation methodology has become progressively more complex, nuanced and messier as the theoretical and pedagogical waters have muddied. Particularly for the less experienced instructor, doing pronunciation can appear to be nothing short of a very "tough mudder" at best. But it need not be. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Situating pronunciation practice with "directed thinking?"

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So how do you get learners to regularly practice their pronunciation, either as homework or using self-directed spontaneous strategies? There are many approaches, from pleasure to pain, but the most widely tried are strategies such as "getting them to focus on the L2 identity or think about either why they should do it or what their desired outcome will be." Turns out those approaches may not be the best way to do it.

In a  2007 study of strategies for enhancing exercise engagement by sedentary college sophomores by Eyck, Gresky and Lord (summarized by Science Daily), it was found that "directed thinking" about what they could do to increase the likelihood of their being able to do their conditioning routines, that is the actions they could take to facilitate that activity--rather than why they should (desirable outcomes) or the exercises, themselves--produced significantly better results. They had been instructed to first create a list of such beneficial or enabling activities that they could do and then daily, at a regular time, mentally review the list for eight weeks. Exercise persistence and increased levels of conditioning followed.

Perhaps most importantly, the approach of Eyck et al. addresses what are often the most common impediments to practice: scheduling conflicts and manageable "temptations." (May be one reason I have worked with so few "fossilized" accountants over the years!) Having learners plan their week's practice in class is often effective, as is working with the pragmatics of "context management," i.e., how to set up people around you to practice on. From that perspective, there should be no excuse for no practice. 

Good to great pronunciation: the "happiness" model

One of the most challenging aspects of pronunciation work is the "meta-communicative" function of appropriately identifying change and then predicting what is next. I was struck by the analogy between that process and aspects of this 2012 study by Sheldon of University of Missouri-Columbia (Summarized by Science Daily) that suggests that sustaining happiness involves two main factors: " . . .   the need to keep having new and positive life-changing experiences and the need to keep appreciating what you already have and not want more too soon." (The validity of the study may, of course, be compromised by the fact that it involved 481 subjects living in the Riverside, California area . . . )

The criteria underlying that definition of "happiness" are wonderfully revealing, culturally "Californian" and near debilitating. Evolving pronunciation may not be correlated with many positive "life-changing" experiences, but the question of instructor and learner awareness of what the process is and how it is going is often crucial, especially at points such as the move from "good to great." (Collins' 2005 book, Good to Great, a business classic, describes that general threshold well.) In other words, it is often not the target that is the problem, but the surreal expectations involved. Western teaching methodology in general too easily relies on motivation to finish the job--or take responsibility for failure.  

There was a time, of course, when the bar of native speaker-like pronunciation was set impossibly high--for any number of reasons-- but at least it did give one a scale to work with.  But now that at least some (informed theorists and teachers) have accepted the target of "intelligible" speech, it has become easier to "appreciate what you have and not want more . . . " 
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Until there is considerably more change in societal attitudes and human nature, however, problematic pronunciation may still interfere with the need for positive, life-changing experiences, like going from a good job to a great one--or from English class to any job. You and your students happy with that? If not, what do you expect? More importantly, what do you expect them to expect? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Love of fatigue-inducing drill and perfect pronunciation

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There had to be a term for it. From a 2011 study by O'Hara, FRCS, summarized by Science Daily: "functional dysphonia (FD), a voice disorder in which an abnormal voice exists with no vocal pathology." Two of the key contributing factors were excessive perfectionism and fatigue. Apparently the symptoms of FD can be of several types from change in voice pitch to serious pain. Had any perfectionist students in your classes that (nearly) burned themselves out striving for an unachievable native-speaker model? What that suggests, of course, is not that the targeted model or accent is the sole source of the problem as much as the perfectionist attitude of either the learner or the methodology. Some earlier structuralist or audiolingual pronunciation approaches do, in retrospect, seem to fit that profile. The contemporary default response of resorting, instead, to ad hoc "near peer" models (although they may have the edge on almost everything but desired accent, according to Bernat) or conscious decisions to stop short of what is considered "acceptable pronunciation" by the learner on similar grounds (of fluency or shift in priorities) is probably not the answer either. Talk about functional "dys-pronunciation" . . . 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Giving pronunciation a bad name?

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Clip art: Clker
What you call it does, of course, make a difference, e.g., EHIEP or HICPR! But how's this for a concluding line to an abstract: "This work demonstrates the potency of processing fluency in the information rich context of impression formation." There are, of course, a plethora of potential reasons that a name or term may appeal or stick quickly, other than just "easier to pronounce," the focus of the 2012 study by Laham, Koval and Alter in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. That effect was evident irrespective of " . . .  name length, unusualness, typicality, foreignness, and orthographic regularity." In other words, if subjects (simply) reported that a name was easier to pronounce, for the most part that seemed to be based on ease of articulation and  perhaps a bit of "sound symbolism" thrown in.

The more interesting implication of the study, however, is the claim that ease of articulation translates into ease of processing fluency--and more favorable impressions or ratings for the bearers of the names, whether of a person, place or thing. So how is that for a criterion for vocabulary selection and sequencing? Begin with more positive words that are easier and more pleasurable to pronounce; hold off on the nasty consonant clusters and idiosyncratic intonation contours until later: what can be more easily pronounced will be encoded and recalled . . . better.

 At least it suggests that in the  process of targeting a specific vowel or consonant that, all things being equal, the anchoring and practice should not dwell on words that are overwhelmingly negative or which contain problematic articulation, despite the intrinsic "vividness" and affect "punch" involved. I had a somewhat "cynical"  colleague who taught pronunciation almost exclusively in the context of pollution--and who was always puzzled that his students were not more positive about the improvement in pronunciation that (should have) resulted. Based on this study, I suspect that the something of the combination of the grim topic/presentation and encountering terms such as "environmental" or "toxic" early on may have helped give his class a bad "name" . . .

Sunday, December 9, 2012

L2 "Speech-ture:" Why anchoring pronunciation change with gesture works

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I am often asked why associating a new sound or word with a gesture is an effective and efficient method for changing pronunciation. There was a time when a response of "just common sense" or "30 years of classroom experience"was adequate--no longer. Now the retort is "Well . . . show me your fMRI!" Research just published in Plos One by Straube, Green, Weis and Kircher entitled, "A Supramodal Neural Network for Speech and Gesture Semantics: An fMRI Study," almost does just that.  In essence, the study demonstrated that at the highest level ("supramodally," that is spanning or connecting modalities), gesture and speech production are initiated neurophysiologically in the same neural network--but "after" meaning.

The apparently "obvious" distinction between the meanings inherent in verbal and nonverbal expression is a false or at least very complex one: they both seemingly emanate from the same source. That is consistent with Damasio's notion that the "feeling" (or unconscious intuition or meaning) in some sense comes before the words or cognitive embodiment. More precisely perhaps, in real time, once a meaning has been chosen to be expressed by the brain/mind, appropriate body movement and speech associated with that concept or unconscious response are then activated by the same governing network. It is almost as if we need a new term here, something like: "speech-ture."

That may be one reason why haptic anchoring of L2 sound by L2 learners can work: the sound is associated with a unique "speech-ture," not that of the L1 or the current interlanguage, transitional form that may still be less than comprehensible in context. In part for that reason, in haptic-integrated work, to "correct" a mispronunciation, the emphasis or conscious focus is on the pedagogical movement pattern, not the sound or auditory image produced by the learner at the time. That is perhaps the defining (or most innovative) feature of haptic-integrated clinical pronunciation work. Regular practice of the PMP (and the accompanying oral production) for a week or so, independent of the use of the associated sound in a word or context, should generally establish the "correct" or approximate target sound(s)--with little or no further intervention from the instructor. Not infrequently, in fact,  a learner can initially produce the "correct" sound using its PMP but still not be able to hear the difference or change . . . in a manner of "speech-turing!"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Your pronunciation teaching "going downhill?"

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Then some advice from a prominent ski instructor, Robert Forster,  may be just what you are looking for: " . . . stretching [is] the single most important thing people can do for body health maintenance . . . connective tissue shortens with time . . .  We stretch to maintain good alignment of the bones." Most pronunciation instructors would agree that stretching out the muscles of the mouth makes sense but what about all the rest of the muscles of the upper body (and even "lower" body)  involved in speech production that need to be re-oriented for doing new sounds? There are quite a few of the roughly 630 in the body as a matter of fact, especially if you take your haptic-integration seriously, that must be engaged. 

If you are not yet a regular stretcher, just to get you ready for the day, begin with a whole body yoga-type routine, like this one from Biosnyc. And from them, to stretch most everything needed for fluent speaking, other than the mouth muscles,  just do the Cobra, Cow and Cat and you'll be ready to haptic. For a good model of the desired outcome of a good vocal tract warm up, watch this with one by opera singer Jayme Alilaw. By the time she is done, not only her vocal track but her psyche is ready as well. 

Notice Forster's second point about connective tissue "shortenlng with time." The articulatory complex of muscles that produce a sound are no exception, even within a native speaker. To improve public speaking performance, for example, virtually all of the responsible muscles have to be re-activated and stretched beyond their normal speaking range of motion--before they can be retrained. Pronunciation work is no exception. Warm ups can go from me doing the relatively laid back, basic EHIEP warm up to  . . . well. . . .Marsha Chan!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Disgusting mispronunciation

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If there is one unassailable tenet of contemporary language and pronunciation teaching, it is that risk taking and the inevitable miscues and errors which occur are very good things. Furthermore, only mistakes interfering with "intelligibility" should be attended to, the others left relatively untouched. What "minor" differences between the L1 and L2 remain are at least not the responsibility of instruction and to many theorists are near "illegal" to either point to or even react to. In other words, pronunciation errors are for the most part a strong positive, and learners and society at large should not see or experience them as negative--unless you are still for some reason interested in actually changing or correcting them, one of the implications of research by Sherman and colleagues of the Kennedy School of Government, summarized by Science Daily.

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In that study, it was found that subjects who were higher in the personality trait of sensitivity to "disgust" were by nature better able to perceive degrees of difference in objects positioned in the light~dark spectrum. (Light~dark being associated in most cultures with pure and impure.) The effect was not apparent with other personality traits such as sensitivity to fear, etc. In other words, to detect an error or difference requires an appropriate degree of affective or emotional indexing. I think it is safe to at least speculate that the opposite effect "works" as well: encourage love of errors (or suppress negative reaction to them) and learners ability to attend to them or monitor them erodes correspondingly.

Not to sound like a "purist" here, but could it be that some of the current, renewed interest in pronunciation teaching, especially segmental (vowel and consonant) change, is but an unintended consequence of the profession's often uncritical attitude toward "error-ing"?  Disgusting . . . 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Effortless learning of the iPA vowel "matrix" of English?

Image: Wikipedia
Could be, according to 2011 research by Watanabe at ATR Laboratories in Kyoto and colleagues at Boston University, as summarized by Science Daily--using fMRI technology in the form of neurofeedback tied to carefully scaffolded visual images. Mirroring what appears to go on in real time, in the experiment it was evident that " . . . pictures gradually build up inside a person's brain, appearing first as lines, edges, shapes, colors and motion in early visual areas. The brain then fills in greater detail to make a red ball appear as a red ball, for example."

This is an intriguing idea, something of a "bellwether" of things to come in the field, using fMRI-based technology joined with multiple-modality features to facilitate acquisition of components of complex behavioral patterns. The application of that approach to articulatory training alone, assembling a sound, in effect, one parameter at a time, just the way it is done by expert practitioners--should be relatively straightforward.

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The EHIEP vowel matrix resembles the standard IPA matrix on the right, except that it is positioned in mirror image and includes only the vowels of English. In training learners to work within it, we do a strikingly similar build up to that identified in the study, lines < edges < shapes < motion (which is different for each vowel.) Each quadrant is then given a colour that corresponds to something of the phonaesthetic quality of the vowels positioned there. Once the "matrix" is kinaesthetically presented and practiced, it is then gradually, haptically anchored as the vowels are presented and practiced using distinct pedagogical movement patterns terminating in some form of "Guy or Girl touch" for each as the sound is articulated.

Out of the box? Not for long, my friends!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Easing the pain of pronunciation work . . .

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With a little empathy, trust and T.L.C. apparently. According to 2011 research by Michigan State University researcher Sarinopoulos and colleagues, summarized by Science Daily, "The brain scans revealed those who had the patient-centered interview showed less activity in the anterior insula . . . and also self-reported less pain . . . a good first step that puts some scientific weight behind the case for empathizing with patients, getting to know them and building trust."

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Several earlier posts have addressed the critical importance of trust in getting learners to (quite literally) step out of their comfort zones in mirroring the pedagogical movement patterns or gestures of kinaesthetic learning, in general, and haptic-integration in particular. Empathy is perhaps the key to achieving and maintaining that working relationship in the classroom. And one of the most important ways that empathy is signaled, of course, is with . . . synchronized body movement and its impact on brain waves. 

A number of studies have also investigated the link between empathy and learning pronunciation, for example, a 1980 study by Guiora, Acton, Erard, and Strickland, that found that a valium-induced empathy-like state in native English speaking undergraduates resulted in significantly enhanced ability to repeat impossibly difficult phrases in Thai. (Trust me on that one!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Minimal, minimal pair work!

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In this month's TESOL Connections is a neat piece by Donna Brinton entitled: Pronunciation: Teaching a segmental contrast. (If you are not a TESOL member you may not be able to access it . . . so take my word for what I am about to say about it!) What caught my eye was this: "Other techniques commonly used are “gadgets” (such as drinking straws or popsicle sticks) so that learners can more accurately feel the position of their tongue or kinesthetic techniques such as asking learners to place their hand palm down underneath their chin and practice the given vowel contrast (such as end vs. and), concentrating on the difference in the position of the jaw (i.e., higher for end and lower for and) . . . " 

Gadgets. Kinaesthetic techniques are assigned to the category of "gadgets" by most methodologists, not something that is integral to the process. And as "simple" as Brinton makes it sound, far too often the PROBLEM is FIRST getting the correct articulatory setting and then anchoring it. Depending on the L1 of the learner and a few dozen other variables, imitating and integrating the right contrastive vowel quality settings may not be a big deal. In that case, the 5-step process, set out over the course of a few weeks is near ideal. For others, greater "interdiction" is required--and that takes either training or outsourcing.

Any thoughts on where to get minimal prePAIRation in the messy "physical" side of the work, if you don't have the time or resources to get yourself trained, to become sufficiently "cEHIEPable" to fix and anchor articulatory problems on the fly?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A touch of gender in (haptically anchoring) English vowels

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia
Grammatical gender is a prominent feature in many romance and germanic languages. In some cases there is a correlation between it and masculine or feminine attributes but it is as often as not just random. 2011 research by Slepian, Weisbuch of the University of Denver, Rule of the University of Toronto, and Ambady of Tufts University, summarized by Science Daily, ends in this "touching" conclusion: "We were really surprised . . . that the feeling of handling something hard or soft can influence how you visually perceive a face . . . that knowledge about social categories, such as gender, is like other kinds of knowledge -- it's partly carried in the body."

Ya think? Subjects basically held something tough or "tender" as they were asked to make judgements on the gender of people in pictures, and, not surprisingly the texture of the object affected their "gender detector," or something to that effect. As noted in earlier posts, in the EHIEP system, each vowel type as it is articulated is designed to be accompanied by a distinct sign-like touch that has very distinct texture. (See also earlier posts on the neurophysiological correlates of textural metaphors.) Turns out we may have unwittingly created masculine and feminine vowel anchors! No wonder they work so well!
  • When marking/anchoring stress in words or phrases, (a) use rough GUY-touch for lax vowels in isolation or before voiceless consonants, (b) use tender/static GIRL-touch for tense vowels in isolation or in secondary stressed positon in words or phrases, (c) use gouging/dynamic GUY-touch for diphthongs and tense vowels + off-glide, or (d) use tender/dynamic GIRL-touch for lax vowels in stressed syllables before voiced consonants.  
  • When marking/anchoring  the prominent syllable in a tone or intonation group, use smooth/gentle/flowing GIRL-touch!
  • When marking/anchoring syllables in groups, use gentle tapping GIRL-touch!

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    The body language of pronunciation teaching: Karaoke Affect

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    One of the potential "turn offs" for some instructors and students in buying into the gestural and somatic basis of pronunciation work is . . . how "goofy" it looks (with apologies to Goofy, of course.) And some of it does, unquestionably. If you need to get to "goofy," you have to ramp up use of wilder gesticulation gradually, what we call "Karaoke Affect." As long as you establish the context carefully and set up good conceptual partitions, most students will come along with you . . . to goofy and beyond.

    But to one who is not in the typical pronunciation teaching box, or just passing by, who has no clue what the class is about, what do the typical, gestural classroom techniques communicate: (a) clapping hands, (b) snapping fingers, (c) stretching rubber bands, (c) humming with a kazoo, (d) thumping on the desk, (e) stamping feet, (f) waving hands in the air to imitate intonation, (g) tracing lines on worksheets with fingers, (h) stepping up and down with sentence stress, (i) popping candy in the mouth on certain vowels, (j) throwing bean bags on stressed words, and (k) let alone the dozens of mouth machinations done for teaching specific vowel and consonant articulation?

    According to recent research by Aviezer of Hebrew University, Trope of New York University and Todorov of Princeton University, summarized by Science Daily, it is the body that accurately communicates feelings (at least), not the face and mouth. In the study, subjects were much better at determining emotional state by focusing on movement and gesture, not looking from the neck up.

    Situating and contextualizing those "bizarre" behaviours and what they communicate requires a coherent system to use them in. As we have seen in research in dozens of blog posts, it can go either way. (The EHIEP "way" is a good start, of course!) So, climb in your Karaoke Affect Box, affect your best your Eliza Doolittle, and  Show me