[Fwd: PRESS RELEASE: FAU Graduate Students Offer Speech Therapy Via Webcam to Republic of Rwanda Citizens]

Tom Givon tgivon at uoregon.edu
Thu Feb 3 22:36:46 UTC 2011

In the old days in SLA, we used to do contrastive analysis of the native 
(L1) & target (L2) languages in order to understand potential 
phonological & grammatical difficulties that L1 speakers may have in 
trying to learn L2. Put another way, you had to know BOTH languages to 
teach L2 to native speakers of L1. I just wonder what these hustlers 
really know about the highly complex KinyaRwanda tonal system, which in 
my experience makes the native KR speakers' English intonation so unlike 
English? My beloved student Alexandre Kimenyi, RIP, lived and taught in 
this country for 40-odd years, yet to the very end I could barely 
undferstand his--fluent!--English. When there's enough $$$ jingling, 
hustlers will follow (viz our earlier discussion on RS) And alas, our 
field--or at least its margins--is not immune.  TG


On 2/3/2011 12:43 PM, Mark P. Line wrote:
> Maybe it's more palatable to their Rwandan clients to hear "your English
> is too British for the Americans" than to hear "your English is too
> African for the Americans".
> -- Mark
> Mark P. Line
> Bartlesville, OK (experiencing a heat wave at 19F)
> Natalie Weber wrote:
>> Thinking cynically here:
>> Like Carlos and Mark, I doubt that a British accent impedes business in
>> America. But I do know of Americans who have trouble with African accents.
>> And African accent + British turns of speech would be even more difficult.
>> I
>> wonder if it would be more accurate to say that this "therapy" aids in
>> developing a more American accent, no matter what English dialect you had
>> previously learned, and is called "speech therapy" to make it more
>> palatable
>> to those who pay for the service? Many language courses do not emphasize
>> natural pronunciation, assuming that "it will just come when you are more
>> fluent", so I would imagine such a speech therapy service could be in high
>> demand.
>> No way of knowing for sure, of course, without partaking in the speech
>> therapy course itself or asking the people involved. But this is what it
>> sounded like to me from the description.
>> --Natalie Weber
>> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 8:29 AM, Carlos M Nash<carlosmnash at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> I find it absolutely embarrassing, frustrating, and depressing that, in
>>> the
>>> 21st century, this sort of philosophy is being passed on to future
>>> academics. With the significant amount of British media accessed by
>>> Americans on a daily basis, and exposure to different varieties of
>>> British
>>> English from British actors in Hollywood, you would think there would be
>>> some negative indicator (e.g. lack or loss of profit) if there were
>>> difficulties for the average American consumer to comprehend
>>> non-American
>>> varieties.
>>> In the meantime, I'll watch another 30 minutes of BBC News before
>>> walking
>>> to
>>> campus in subzero temperature.
>>> Best Wishes.
>>> ------------------------------
>>> Carlos M Nash
>>> Department of Anthropology
>>> University of Kansas

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