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Pronunciation and the Adult Learner ...

Übersicht zum Tagungsband: Pronunciation and the Adult Learner: limitations and possibilities / Hrsg. Ulrike A. Kaunzner


Presentazione (Marcello Soffritti)

Introduction (Ulrike A. Kaunzner)

Acoustic Training and Development of General Language Proficiency (John H.A.L. de Jong and Ulrike A. Kaunzner)

Lo sviluppo delle capacità d'ascolto, le ricerche di Tomatis, lo strumento operativo (Federico Gianni)

Pronunciation: a Broader Approach. Discourse and Variation in Pronunciation Training (Ludo Beheydt)

Spracherwerb in zweisprachiger Lernumgebung: die prosodische Wende (Federica Missaglia)

Lautsprachliche Informationsverarbeitung beim Fremdsprachenerwerb (Walter Sendlmeier)

Music and Language Cognition Seen in Perspective for the Foreign Language Classroom (Rachel E. Pearce)

Balbuceos poéticos. Prosodia, conexión interhemisférica y adquisición del espanol en futuros intérpretes (Isabel Fernández Garcia)

Lateralisiertes Synchronsprechen automatisiert Artikulation und Prosodie (Fred Warnke)

Klangkontakt umd Kosonanz: ein Stimmtrainingskonzept für Chorsingen, Sologesang und Sprechen (Heinz Stolze)

Das sprachliche Reich der Sinne (Hören) (Birgid Rauen)



This volume is a collection of articles which concern the special situation of the adult language learner. Whereas children can acquire language in a natural (non scholastic) envirorment and almost automatically reach a high level of language competence, adult leamers normally "study" the foreign language applying cognitive-analytical strategies such as categorization, transfer or generalization techniques. Whereas they can achieve a rather high level in most of the fields of language competence, like morphology, syntax or the lexicon, this is not the case with sound discrimination ability and, consequently, pronunciation and intonation. Here adult learners feel they face an insuperable barrier and hardly ever reach a native-like proficiency. Their "foreign accent" will almost always be the major reason to detect them as non-natives.
Is it because adult language learners just fail to reproduce the correct sounds or is it possible that they do not hear them correctly? We know that voice production is closely connected to auditory comprehension which means that pronunciation problems are not always articulation problems. Consequently, how can traditional pronunciation training help if the student keeps hearing sounds incorrectly? Is acoustical training a possibility to positively influence the speed and quality of oral proficiency? Questions like these were the reason to apply for financial support through the European Union and start a research project about pronunciation and the adult language learner.
The project Audio-Lingua was supported by the European Union through the Lingua Prograin, which is now called the Socrates Program, and the support lasted for the maximum of three years
(1993,1994 and 1995). The project had two goals:

1 .to elaborate and test the efficiency of ihe SPTmethod ("Sound Perception Training", based on the research of A.A. Tomatis) in terms of pronunciation improvement through acoustical stimulation; develop didactic pronunciation material (book with tapes/CD) for the target languages German, Italian, Dutch and Spanish.
Apart from the coordinating Institution, the University of Bologna (SSLIMIT - School for interpreters and Translators in Forli), a further five universities and two non-university institutions in Italy, Gerinany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain collaborated.
The Forli conference "Pronunciation and the Adult Learner: limitations and possibilities" (January 1997) marked the successful conclusion of the Audio-Lingua Project where the first research results were presented and discussed. Several specialists were invited and contributed with their research and know-how in the discussion of the subject. The volume contains several articles which are strictly connected to the Audio-Lingua Project: John H.A.L. de Jong and Ulrike A. Kaunzner present the project, the research setup, the evaluation of the data and the final results. Federico Gianni shows some concepts underlying ihe attitude of listening and gives a technical description of the SPT and how the apparatus intervenes in the process of learning a foreign language via sensory stimulation of the auditory system. Ludo Beheydt reports on the didactic background, the pronunciation norms and principles of the Dutch pronunciation course which was part of the Audio-Lingua Project.
The other contributions which are not closely connected to the Audio-Lingua project, reflect on different aspects of the special learning situation which adult learners have in terms of pronunciation. Federica Missaglia stresses the importance of prosody and the bilingual approach in foreign language teaching and learning. Walter Sendlmeier discusses the necessity of the reattunement of phonetic perceptual processes and reflects on the prototype concept and its role in speech perception. Rachel E. Pearce looks at the anthropological background to music and language and its application in the classroom.
The communication between hemispheres plays a central role in two articles: Isabel Femändez Garcia introduces a method aiming at the improvement of prosodic phonology through the use of poems in the classroom. Fred Warnke presents his lateralized training which stimulates both brain hemispheres and thus improves their cooperation via a technical apparatus.
Heinz Stolze contributes with his approach "cosonance" where he distinguishes between acoustical quantities and those of perception. It is a computer-based training for singers which he suggests for foreign language learners. Birgid Rauen concludes the volume with a philosophical reflection on the difference in the lexicon of acouslic events in Italian and German and rises the question to what extent linguistic organization of the acoustic world directs and molds the hearing process.
I want to thank the SSLINUT and all those who have participated in the project and have helped to bring it to a final conclusion. Serious health problems and major work changes caused the delay of the final report of the project's results, and this is why finally now - three years after the conference - the volume can be published.

Ulrike A. Kaunzner