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A balance between prosody and segmental feature?

 
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imkimjeng



Joined: 15 Jun 2011
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:50 am    Post subject: A balance between prosody and segmental feature? Reply with quote

Many studies showed the important place of prosody in language communication for the reason that misunderstanding would occur when speakers are lack of suprasegmental knowledge. However, most of language teaching focuses on segmental features first, especially the instruction for beginners, and then moves to prosody, the teaching for advanced learners. Here comes my questions. I'm wondering the order of the two dimensions of language teaching is appropriate or not. For example, students learn phonics in the beginning and some of them later would be aware of connected speech employed by native speakers. However, they might get used to articulate words "clearly" (what I mean here is that they do not use connected speech) and it takes time for them to modify the way they speak. What if they learn the nature way of speaking without paying attention of segmental feature? Would this change confused language learners because there is no fixed rule for them to follow considering prosody. How to strike a balance between the teaching of prosody and of segmental feature.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure what you are including in "prosody" but I will say that I taught about the way words were connected in very elementary levels. I had them write telephone numbers after I dictated, "fi voh" for 5-0, etc. I had them say "It's a" with the connection. I did it with everything from the very beginning.
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imkimjeng



Joined: 15 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prosody here means intonation, rhyme, connected speech, etc.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

imkimjeng wrote:
Prosody here means intonation, rhyme, connected speech, etc.


Well I don't see why you can't teach that in the beginning, as I said above.
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imkimjeng



Joined: 15 Jun 2011
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet wrote:
imkimjeng wrote:
Prosody here means intonation, rhyme, connected speech, etc.


Well I don't see why you can't teach that in the beginning, as I said above.


I'm sorry for my unclear statement in the first posting. Actually, I don't contend that prosody should be avoided. What I'm wondering is teaching it in an explicit or implicit way. I'm concerned that explicit instruction of prosody would confuse language learners in the beginning due to the variation of language itself. Taking the word "you" as an example. At first, learners acquire that the pronunciation of "you" is [ju]. Later, they would gradually discover that native speakers don't usually articulate the word in that way. Somehow they connect "you" with previous consonant "d" as "[dʒ]" when encountering "would you...?" Taking rising intonation as the other example. Generally, questioning is expressed by rising ending; however, some questions are used with falling contour to show confirmation. In these situations, should we notify or emphasize this point for our students? Or let students grasp prosody through receiving our output only rather than teaching it on purpose?
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are patterns that can be taught. For example, "you" is often reduced to "ya" in fast speech. I used to indicate that by circling it. The "dz" sound happens when it's a __d y___ combination (would you, could you, did you, should you, had your, etc.) or "ch" for a ___t y___ combination (don't you, won't you, can't you, not yet, that you, etc.). I marked them with a liaison. I taught it explicitly, and explained that was why it was more difficult to understand spoken English.
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imkimjeng



Joined: 15 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm wondering you taught students the pattern "before" they discovered something "weird" or you gave prosodic instruction once students had confusion.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
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Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught it together. I might explain some grammar first, but in the spoken practice, I always said things the way we speak, and encouraged, but did not insist, on them trying it out. The most important part was understanding. If you say, "Did you go?" and pronounce each word clearly, you will be understood. If someone else says, "Didja go?" and you can't figure out what it means, then you have a problem.
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Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Many studies showed the important place of prosody in language communication for the reason that misunderstanding would occur when speakers are lack of suprasegmental knowledge. However, most of language teaching focuses on segmental features first, especially the instruction for beginners, and then moves to prosody, the teaching for advanced learners.


This is the status quo of prosody in general. I haven't come accross a basic manual on prosody and suprasegmental analysis, everything in this area seems to lag terribly behind segmental studies, and particularly in Second Language Teaching. This might be the case because in general intonation is to do with attitude, so there are many variables to be taken into account rather than contrasting minial pairs -- that's so true that even tonemes have the same status as phonemes in language studies.

One book I have started reading is 'Intonation' by Alan Cruttenden, and I really enjoy the notation he uses, a kind of three scale melody and balls counting the syllables and also showing stressed syllables and intonational movements, kind of more illustrative than the American ToBe system but I am also in my infancy when it comes to these studies and applying them in class, although I do know that suprasegmental use seem more effective for learners than purely segmental studies, basicaly I work with stressed syllables, linked sounds (and when they do not apply), and I ask students to identify the most prominent word(s) in a spoken passage, nothing systematic as I wish I could tackle this.

Josť
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eeaston



Joined: 13 Aug 2011
Posts: 4
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reduction Reply with quote

I introduce reduction very early. I teach adults and it's surprising how many have never heard of it.

Easton
http://www.youtube.com/user/evaeaston?feature=mhum#p/c/C104363B56F1DC9C/1/unUJhFeoV8U
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