English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.2
English Australia Journal Volume 27 No 2 21 a state that is at once neutral yet charged with potential, into which a panoply of chosen physical characteristics, including posture and gait as well as vocal placement, pitch, tone, pace, articulation and pronunciation (to name only a few) can be introduced to build the identity of the character to be performed. In particular, the voice training involves a conscious deconstruction of the involuntary kinaesthetic processes by which speech is created, and the development of physical capacities to reconstruct them intentionally in a variety of combinations. The research undertaken suggests that these deconstruction/reconstruction processes can be productively adapted for teaching the speaking of English in TESOL contexts. The present article focuses particularly on pronunciation, because in the literature, intelligible speech is linked to this above all (AMEP Research Centre, 2002; Fraser, 2000, 2001). As Fraser (2001, p. 1) puts it, ‘with good pronunciation, a speaker is intelligible despite other errors; with poor pronunciation, a speaker can be very difficult to understand, despite accuracy in other areas’. Furthermore, the practical teaching examples set forth later in the article focus mainly on segmentals, not because it is felt that this should be the primary site for pronunciation teaching, but because the CLT paradigm is perceived to have skewed the focus towards suprasegmentals at the expense of segmentals, to fluency over accuracy. This largely remains the case despite research such as that by Jenkins (2000) underpinning her lingua franca core syllabus for English as an international language (EIL), which demonstrates persuasively that segmental pronunciation issues are the most common cause of communication breakdown (Pickering, 2006, p. 222). TESOL teachers are frustrated by the lack of strategies provided by CLT to help students who are 'unable to produce segmentals acceptably or with any permanency after exposure to traditional methods of minimal pair drills, simplified articulatory explanations and aural discrimination exercises' (Carey, 2009). The latter part of the present article is a step towards redressing that dearth of strategies. In particular, it introduces a method that adapts, in reverse, processes I have used in coaching actors to speak English with foreign accents, by providing kinaesthetic feedback enabling learners to reconceptualise and re-articulate habituated phonology more intelligibly. Reconceptualising pronunciation kinaesthetically Reconceptualisation is fundamental in this process because, as Fraser (2001, p. 20) observes: the problem is not that the person can’t physically make the individual sounds, but that they fail to conceptualise the sounds appropriately – to discriminate them, organise them in their minds, and manipulate them as required for the sound system of English.
English Australia Journal 28.1
English Australia Journal 27.1