Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sounds of animals and language phonetics.

When residing in Japan, my friends and I used to have fun around the styles of trivial customs all the international students had. The discussions began when in our Japanese Language textbook (Minna no Nihongo), we found a page that taught us some signs that are commonly used by the Japanese society. From simple hand waving to ask people to move apart because we are walking through, sounds for recognizing animals, to the way we use our fingers to count. A press article published in the BBC site, reminded me those fun times we used to have. In the following entries I will write a short summary on the customs we used to discuss about. The current entry is the first part; it is about the sounds of animals. The picture on the left is a snapshot of a very interesting site written in Spanish (http://www.esl-idiomas.com/es/voces-animales.htm) that is by far the best on this topic. I am sure you will have as muuuuuuuch fun as I had.
Part 1. Sounds of animals and language fonetics.
It is always fun to hear how different we resemble the sounds of some common animals. But how trivial is that? It is an interesting way to investigate about phonetics. Let´s see (and hear at this site) some examples of the languages I am familiarized with:
  •  Dogs
Spanish: guau guau
English: woof woof
Japanese: wan wan 
  • Cats
Spanish: miau miau
English: meou meou
Japanese: niah niah

It is interesting how much relationship there is between this simple game and language phonetics. It was actually quite surprising to find out that respected language centers around the globe,do discuss about the topic we used to discuss about. Some examples are a UC Berkley´s short post, but it was much more interesting to find out that such phonetic tools could help a child talk, as discussed on a blog post written by Becca Jarzynski, M.S., CCC-SLP, a pediatric speech-language pathologist. The latter discussion I mention, suggests that according to the language, some of the sounds we may make, would help our kids to recognize the sounds they usually have problems dealing with. Interesting tool! Now I wonder, what occurs in inter cultural families, where parents have a mother language different from the language spoken at the place where their kids are being raised. There, the school should play a fundamental role. So, in those cases would it be advisable to take the kids to the school as early as possible? Probably yes.

Coming soon: Hand waving, finger counting, etc.

References

Voces de animales – Badgehttp://www.esl-idiomas.com/es/voces-animales.htm: The voices of languages You can also google some sites in English, which are notoriously less elaborated than the site I recommend you above.

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