Monday, February 11, 2013

Connecting "internal" pronunciation memory with "external" movement and vocal resonance

Clip art: Clker
Now, granted, this one is a bit of a stretch but it is certainly headed in the right direction . . . from a new study on motor memory by Smith of Harvard university, summarized by Science Daily, connecting internal (brain only) motor memory with memory for "external," physical body movement. The concept is that the neurons that actually manage physical movement are much more closely related to those that "store" or generate that action in the brain than has been generally assumed in contemporary neurological theory. Now why is potentially very big?

Clip art: Clker
In part, it suggests that in haptic-integrated clinical pronunciation work, for example, procedures that focus learners' attention more on the "physical" or "somatic" dimensions of sound production and comprehension should, correspondingly, have greater impact on memory for the sounds and later recall--than do more cognitive functions such as insight, systems "noticing" and context embedding. In other words, this seems to explain why over-reliance on metacognitive activities in pronunciation teaching such as explanation, reflection and rule schemas may not be all that effective in assisting learners in integrating new and corrected pronunciation into spontaneous speech.

Bottom line: Get connected with haptic pronunciation teaching!

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