Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Effects of Individual Voice Training on Pre-Service Turkish Language Teachers' Speaking Performance *

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Effects of Individual Voice Training on Pre-Service Turkish Language Teachers' Speaking Performance *

Article excerpt

Natural language speakers use spoken language, which is the primary language system, for various purposes. As defined by Jacobson (1960, pp. 354-358), language has referential, emotive, conative, poetic, or metalingual functions. These functions can prove to be effective or ineffective depending on the use of speaking skills. In this regard, the discourse features which distinguish it from written language make spoken language inevitable for daily language and work life. Speaking is a skill in both first and second language and, as Bygate (2003, p. 7) states, it is the perfect tool for social solidarity, social status, and professional progress.

The speaking process is the product of a mechanism related to linguistic and communicative competence and its different dimensions can be analyzed individually. Considering its physiological (organization of language in the brain and the use of speaking organs), linguistic (phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics), and cognitive aspects (conceptualization, organize, idea production, understanding, and more), every component of speaking skill is a field of scientific inquiry on its own. Levelt (1993, p. 1) argues that a complex cognitive skill such as speaking should be analyzed by breaking it into its components. Therefore, in many research studies, it is not possible to investigate all aspects of speaking at the same time. This study aims to investigate the phonological component of the speaking skill.

Phonological operations require sub-operations, such as accurate use of respiration, correct pronunciation of phonemes, and use of prosody. Although each native speaker undergoes an acquisition process related to articulation and use of phonemes, effective and accurate speaking is not a skill that can develop and improve by itself. Effective and accurate use of voice requires a learning process and repetition. Anderson (1977, p. vi) explains this as follows: Effective use of voice is a skill that can be developed with awareness; it could be improved through observation, study, and most importantly by practice. Voice training will equip users with this awareness.

In some professions, the use of voice is more than a basic requirement of daily life. Since it influences cohesion and coherence, and creates the word's rhetorical power, it is a powerful tool for professional voice users (teachers, politicians, lawyers, and call-center employees, etc.). As professional voice users, teachers have to speak for long periods of time in front of communities and stand out as role models. They also need to preserve their voice health through the economical use of breath and voice exercises. Teachers are at the center of research on voice health. Therefore, equipping teachers with voice training will result in a noticeable difference in the exercise of their profession.

The contents of basic voice training include posture, breathing, phonation, resonance, articulation, intonation, and stress exercises. Speech speed, fluency, and voice quality are also targeted in this training (Ege, 2006; Gürhan, 2013; Özçimen, 2008; Selen, 1976). Posture training is aimed at ensuring that the body is in a balanced position and straight line with a correct posture. One of the important conditions of effective respiration and speaking correctly is a correct posture (Özçimen, 2008, p. 157). Respiratory training involves diaphragmatic breathing technique. Through exercises specific to respiratory training, it is possible to restrain respiration in line with the sentence uttered and to inhale when uttering the second phrase having uttered the first one with an exhale. Such a training is the first step towards speech training (Selen, 1976, p. 97). The voice source for speaking is produced as the air in the lungs passes through the vocal cords in the larynx. This is called phonation (Ege, 2006, p. 6). Phonation is very important particularly because it takes place in the phase of correctly producing the voice. …

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