Monday, October 06, 2003

The Importance of Pronunciation
My mom always said that she thought I should be good at learning languages because I was able to accurately imitate sounds and accents from a very early age. She has a very cute story about me being able to perfectly make the sound of the baby goat that our neighbors owned, until someone told me how humans were "supposed" to approximate goat noises, and then I couldn't do it anymore. Now, though, I have proof that she may have been right in her theory. In doing my reading for class, I came across this:

"More recent studies have suggested that phonological STM [short-term memory] may be involved not only in lexical acquisition but also in the acquisition of grammatical rules... Ellis and Sinclair..., for example, found from their study comparing the effects of learners' phonological rehearsal of Welsh utterances on elements such as comprehension, metalinguistic knowledge and acquisition, that learners who repeated utterances clearly outperformed those prevented from doing so. They concluded that 'individual differences in STM and working memory can have profound effects on language acquisition.'" (Mackey, Philp, Egi, Fujii, Tatsumi, 2002)

So really, all you need to do to find a language you'll be good at is find one you can pronounce, right? Maybe. The theory is neat, anyway.

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