Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Haptic dance, Aikido and the future of language (and pronunciation) teaching

For an intriguing glance at what future language (or pronunciation) teaching may "look" like, check out the following "haptic dances" by media artist, Landau: Exploratory Dance 1.1, and Motor Imagery Dance. Computer-mediated mirroring will be key; not just culturally appropriate body movement and gestures, for example, but gesture-synchronized speech as well (not unlike what we see in haptic pronunciation teaching, not surprisingly!)

Another piece or theoretical model of what that process will involve is evident in this article in Gesture focusing on the full-body, dialogic "dance" between opponents in Aikido,"The coordination of moves in Aikido interaction." Lefebvre's 2016 framework was developed examining the interplay involved, created with the goal of being able to better characterize the way entire bodies communicate with each other, the intricate synchrony of moves and counters that characterizes all "conversation".

Aikido embodies the moves of your opponent, in part by almost subliminally synchronizing the body to the motion coming at you. Bouts are "won" often by simply redirecting or escorting one's opponent to the floor or out of the ring. (That was, by the way, my wife's basic approach to dealing with first graders: You cannot possibly just block them or stop them, but you can almost always deftly redirect their energy and motion more to your purposes!)

What those two systems in part provide us with is the beginnings of a framework by which to design methodologies that (literally) embody language models, including technology that "manages" articulation as well. There have been for quite some time haptic systems that assist patients with various articulatory conditions, guiding the vocal apparatus in producing more "normal" speech patterns.

Embodied, computer-mediated language learning, something analogous to the Aikido experience, will provide learners with a way to (safely and completely) give themselves over to the "dance" as they are guided to speak and move with models, and ultimately be able to adopt and use the energies, words and moves of the L2, themselves--faster and more efficiently.

This is one dance you'll not want to miss! In the meantime, of course, you might prepare by doing some Aikido--and Haptic Pronunciation Teaching!

Full citations:
Daniel Landau - http://www.daniel-landau.com/about
Lefebvre, A. The coordination of moves in Aikido interaction. Gesture 5(2) 123-155.

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