Prosodic Writing shows L2 learners intonation by 3D letter shapes: state, results, and attempts to increase 3D perceptionProsodic Writing shows L2 learners intonation by 3D letter shapes: state, results, and attempts to increase 3D perception
The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) has been widely used in dictionaries. However, IPA failed to replace standard writing systems in foreign language education, one of the goals of some of its founders. IPA didn't work out on sentence level. Yet, many language students struggle with the pronunciation of target languages, both, segmentally and suprasegmentally, since there are not sufficient pronunciation cues in standard texts. Thus the question for the optimal writing system for language learners still lacks an answer. It is the main thesis of this research that this optimum is NOT the standard writing system of any language of study. The main argument is that this standard has been optimized over many years by native speakers for native speakers, who share a huge mental storehouse of suprasegmentals - speech melodies - that do not need to be encoded. A second thesis is that this optimum system encodes also the prosody of a given language for beginners - rhythmical and intonational patterns invisible in standard written language. The paper will introduce a special writing system that encodes prosody (thus called: Prosodic Writing) and can be imagined as a text warping in a 30 space. It further summarizes some recent results, e. g. showing that an experimental group had a higher speaking speed compared to a control group given symbolically encoded prosodic cues. The paper finally suggests ways to improve generation and appearance of Prosodic Writing by computer, also by stereograms, and poses as future research question whether such stereograms could even be produced manually. All attempts - by computer or by hand - aim at a stronger 3D-impression of letters, words and text. Hopefully, students using Prosodic Writing - in conjunction with the indispensable audio sources of target language utterances - will acquire good pronunciation of foreign languages more efficiently.