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It Is Not Difficult

I was talking to a colleague the other day. “I think I finally get what you are talking about,” she said. You might think this would make me happy, but it had the opposite effect. A year or so ago, she attended a presentation I gave, and we have talked about my project a number […]

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It happened again.   Me: My project has to do with phonemic awareness.   Other Person: Phonics.   Me: No, phonemic awareness, not phonics.   OP: (blank look)   Me: Phonics is the sound to letter correspondence. Phonemic awareness is only the sounds.   OP: (blank look with new element of suspicion)   Me: When […]

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The International Journal of Behavioral Development had a special section on literacy development with a focus on neuroscientific methods. One paper was of particular relevance to the theme of this blog, Brain event-related potentials to phoneme contrasts and their correlation to reading skills in school-age children. It was written by a group of authors I […]

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Learners have to hear the sounds to learn them. The pics below are from a video that emphasizes the L and R sounds. Click here to watch and listen.      

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This is my second post on the so-called bilingual advantage. Research has shown that bilinguals have certain enhanced cognitive abilities. To efficiently manage two languages, bilinguals must continually employ their cognitive control functions, which includes the ability to inhibit or ignore certain things and focus on others. This leads to what is called “improved executive […]

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In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein wrote, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” This is one of the few things he wrote that I can understand, but starting with a quote from Wittgenstein is impressive, no? Language teachers, I suppose, would agree with this premise. If our worlds are limited by […]

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            I’ve been told that my posts are too long and too academic. It has taken awhile, but I’m starting to get it. This will be shorter and sweeter.              The biggest cause of communication breakdowns when two non-native speakers communicate in English is mispronounced or misunderstood phonemes. This claim […]

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It happens all the time. I say learners can learn the difficult sounds of English through exposure to video clips, and someone argues they can’t and cite a study by Patricia Kuhl. It is an all too common misunderstanding. In the study referred to, 9-month old American infants were exposed to native Mandarin Chinese speakers […]

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Phonemic awareness (PA) is the ability to perceive and manipulate the sounds of a language. Yeong & Rickard-Liow (2012) define it as the ability to segment words into constituting sounds and to blend these sounds to form new words. This type of awareness requires the recognition of phonemes, which are the smallest unit of language […]

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I ended my last post with a quote from Dr. Usha Goswami, the Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at Cambridge University:       …the way in which the brain represents the sound-structure of spoken language -phonology-     is critical for the future development of literacy. The brain develops phonological   […]

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