viernes, 26 de agosto de 2016

Brief Briefing on IV Jornadas de la Didáctica de la Fonética - UNSAM

Hello! Today I got the chance to take part, for the fourth time, in the Jornadas de Didáctica de la Fonética, which will from now be named after the wonderful Clem Durán. This conference in pronunciation teaching is held every two years at Universidad Nacional de San Martín. 

Due to personal reasons I will not be able to make it to the second day, so I wanted to briefly comment on some of the things I found interesting about today's activities.

In the ! morning plenary, Prof. María Emilia Pandolfi discussed some interesting priorities and areas that need attention when training Argentinian opera singers to perform in Italian. Some lovely audio samples were presented. I personally think the world of coaching in Phonetics formsingers, radio speakers and actors is something worth hearing further about. (And yes, Italian is sooo enticing and melodious to my ears..😍)

Prof. Adriana Boffi made a deeply thought-provoking analysis of oral exam descriptors, comparing English and Spanish assessment standards and discussing the underlying beliefs and (my take here) ideological underpinnings behind some lexical choices in he rubrics. Boffi made a point of all the different aspects that constitute a person's "pronunciation" and how difficult it is to establish clear boundaries and bands for assessment.  Issues related to the interlocutor's "effort" in trying to understand, intelligibility and identity were reviewed and problematised, and the role of intonation as a key element in the presentation of pragmatic meanings was highlighted. 

In the afternoon panel there was a historical and sociolinguistic review on the vicissitudes in the selection of a teaching variety for pronunciation (this reflection centered around Portuguese, but works for all languages!) by Prof  Nélida Sosa. Prof. Luiz Roos, in his own entertaining style, presented some reflections on the difference between "mistakes" and "errors" and the practice of correction to learn vs correction to assess. I had my own 15 minutes to make a brief, informal, exploration of ideas and principles in "pron-tegration" (BTW, I have to admit I am no longer a reliable speaker of Spanish..sadly...)

I was in charge of moderation of one of the concurrent sessions slot , so I was lucky to hear the presentation of five very diverse papers:

Esquibel, Eliana, Gordillo, Germán yRomán, Sandra (UNLaR) 
discussed their innovative experience in analytic listening (Ashby 1996) applied to intonation training -to tone perception, in particular- so as to enhance tone production alongside it. I myself think that a multiple choice task of the kind they suggest does help restrict the number of distractors for tone perception (which is why in the last two years I have replaced the regular dictation amd decoding tasks with other ear-training activities...worth another post!)

Peréz, Liliana(UNCuyo) made a literature review of the comparison between the processes and strategies involved in reading aloud vs reading silently. A case for reading aloud in the Phonetics class was put forward, after weighting down advantages and disadvantages.

Grasso, Marina y Martino, Daniela Lorena (UNLP) (lovely accents, in my view, btw!) made a very interesting report of the kind of work they do with third year teacher training students at university. Trainees are asked to record a lesson and provide an account of the prosodic choices associated with Teacher Talk based on the model by Sinclair and Brazil (1982, and others). On a personal note, I was looking forward to this presentation, as I've been working with classroom discourse in my Lab 3 and 4 courses for a couple of years, and to see how effective and significant this kind of work is, in all these different institutions, makes me believe we can find a way out of intonation L1 transfer by making use of our student's own working context ( yes, in my country most teacher trainees have already got a lot of teaching experience!). My own students admitted that the Teacher Talk unit in the syllabus is one of the few contents with immediate application outside College, into the real classroom (a lot to think about!).

Ibáñez, Karina.  (UNLP) discussed some of her findings in the use of the level tone in French, validated by native French speakers' perception of possible pragmatic meanings. I cannot fully appreciate the nuances of the language due to my own ignorance of  French, but Karina's proposal of studying language in context and with authentic materials in order to discuss situated values of one is transferable to other languages.

Panzachi Heredia, Damaris Ana Ruth y Luchini, Pedro Luís. (UNMdP – UCAECE Mar del Plata – Colegio Atlántico Sur (CADS) presented a very interesting experiment on processing times and comprehension of three passages: one with proper accentuation, one in which the choice of nucleus is unlikely, and an "accentless" one ( to be honest, I found this idea of accentlesness quite difficult to figure out. To me, it was more of an oblique version with a succession of accents maked with level tones, but then that could be the effect of my own "perceptual mould", or expectations). Subjects were asked to complete a number of tasks used to test info retrieval and processing times. This was a pilot study that promises to be quite interesting, once some adjustments are made. Looking forward to hearing more about this!

So here ends my brief briefing of what I have been able to take down and focus on at the conference. All misinterpretations of the theories and results presented and typos remain my own. Goodnight!

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