Saturday, December 8, 2012

Your pronunciation teaching "going downhill?"

Clip art: Clker

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!

No comments:

Post a Comment