ERIC Number: ED415062
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Children To "Unlearn" the Sounds of English.
Across the United States, most American Indian children speak English as a first language. This fact allows a unique strategy for teaching an indigenous language as a second language. In all indigenous language programs, formal introduction to linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, can provide methods to help children "unlearn" aspects of English that interfere with second-language acquisition. American Indian language programs hope to preserve or revitalize indigenous languages in their original form, and share common concerns related to family dynamics (speaker-nonspeaker interactions), application problems (children practicing the second language outside the classroom using English rules of speech), and the shortage of native speakers as teachers. Introductions to phonetics and phonology can help children discriminate between the sounds of their first and second languages and recognize the phonological rules of the English language that they use every day. A review of the primary stages of first-language production can clarify students' understanding of phonology. In second-language acquisition, children can be confused by sounds, intonation, and stress placements and will often revert to English rules concerning these areas while unaware that they are doing so. Students must understand what sounds from their first language do not transfer into the second, and they must learn to recognize when the first language is interfering with second-language pronunciation. Teaching methods are suggested for readers and nonreaders (preschoolers). (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Teaching Indigenous Languages; see RC 021 328.