Introduction to Phonetics with Pronunciation Practicum, p. 2
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Some students have reported really enjoying this class because the knowledge gained in it is so concrete, in contrast to a lot of the courses you typically take in a literature-oriented program. These students say they can clearly describe exactly what they have learned, and can apply it to their daily lives. The abstract concepts and values you deal with in your other classes are at least equally important, but this class can perhaps help balance out some of your other work by presenting you with some hard, verifiable facts of the physical world.
The area of physics we will be most concerned with is acoustics, the study of sound, in particular as it relates to human speech. This will involve class demonstrations with physical objects, graphics and software. Previous students have found this fun and mind-opening, probably since demonstrations like this tend to be limited to hard science courses íV which foreign language students mostly don't need to take anymore.
The point of this course, on the other hand, is not so much the technical knowledge you will gain, or even all the improvements you will make in your pronunciation, but more on developing a keener sensitivity to sounds specifically, and language in general. After taking this course, students have found themselves noticing more how they themselves and others speak, and not just what is said. You may find yourself irritated when you start noticing pronunciation flaws in the language you hear spoken by your friends íV and even teachers! But this sensitivity is a very positive thing. It's really the thing we are after. You will also gain new confidence in your own speech.
Calculation of your final grade will be based on all of your oral and written class work, scores on your quizzes and final, attendance and punctuality, attitude, and progress made.
One of your first assignments will be recording yourself in different languages as a "before" snapshot to compare with how you sound at the end of the course. Click "on to next page" below for the handout.
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