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Perceptual training for adult Swedish leaners of Chinese

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Guohua Hu
Publicerad i 27th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics, DEPARTMENT OF ASIAN LANGUAGES & CULTURES, UCLA
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Språk en
Ämnesord Perception, learning strategy
Ämneskategorier Språk och litteratur, Fonetik, Tvåspråkighet, Kinesiska

Sammanfattning

This paper will give an overview of how the training process in Chinese perception for Swedish adult learners, based on teaching, is conducted at University of Gothenburg. It does not intend to build up an ideal perception mode. This process contains three phases 1) creating an “in omnibus” language feeling that as much as possible activates the students’ potential perceptual abilities as soon as they are exposed to Chinese; 2) tapping their perceptual abilities for giving full play to their perceptual aptitudes (which requires various pedagogical activities both for group- and individual work), and 3) training the students ultimately to attain a self-monitored and self-conscious learning strategy (Dörnyei & Skehan 2003). At school Swedes start learning English in their third school year. But they have already earlier had many possibilities to experience this major language independently, e.g. through mass media. However, Chinese as a target language in Sweden is not accessed as easily as English. It is therefore necessary for the beginners to experience the prosody of this new language or there is a risk of an overly staccato-like speech production if they are only trained in isolated segments and suprasegmentals. It is also important to foster their perception of social awareness since intonation might have different social functions (politeness, happiness, sorrow, etc.). In the same way we have to train their category competence with a discrete-item method (Flowerdew & Miller 2005:10-11) in order to avoid that much of the input is “filtered out” (Mehlhorn 2008:213). For example, they are asked where they notice pauses, rising or falling tones, a longer duration, etc., especially the differences of these prosodic features of the (supra)segments when they were isolated and in spontaneous speech. An improved method has been developed for dealing with (supra)segmental contrasts in this specific learning context, using a more acoustically-oriented approach to tapping potential perceptual abilities. For example, the students were asked to describe the differences between my Swedish pronunciation of place, seat and their own since there are neither phonemic affricates nor aspiration contrasts in Swedish. As soon as they reported that my Swedish contain more powerful airstream and strong block than theirs they were instructed to put their palm in front of the mouth, then block and release the strong airstream in order to feel the Chinese [ths]. Drawing special attention to allophonic-like variants in both languages can also help to acquire the Chinese sound [ɕ]. Additionally, individual switches between sounds longitudinally were also noticed. As for tone, Chen (2013) has suggested that manual gestures indicating tone movement is an aid for learning tone patterns. For Swedish learners this is probably less important since their mother tongue has a tonal word accent: tone perception can be trained at di- or polysyllabic word level. For example, they were trained whether one this high tone rises earlier than that one within or across syllables. These activities must be very carefully prepared by the teacher and demand teachers with high ambition, excellent pedagogy, and good linguistic ability in both languages, especially if her/his own pronunciation is not blameless. Qualified teaching will come about through the students’ feedback in order to analyze, diagnose, and plan for further coaching. The goal of this perception training is that the students, guided by a teacher, gradually develop their potential perceptual abilities and establish their self-confidence, and finally attain an independent learning strategy. When the students master these steps the method paves the way for a better speech production. References: Chen, C. M. (2013). Gestures as tone markers in multilingual communication. Research in Chinese as a Second Language, 9, 143. Dornyei, Z., & Skehan, P. (2003). 18 Individual Differences in Second Language Learning. Flowerdew, J., & Miller, L. (2005). Second language listening: Theory and practice. Cambridge University Press. Mehlhorn, G. (2007). Individual pronunciation coaching and prosody. TRENDS IN LINGUISTICS STUDIES AND MONOGRAPHS, 186, 211.

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