Hearing sensitisation exercise to make the learning of Catalan phonetics easier:
Working on the phonetics of any language without exception —even Catalan— is something that starts and finishes within the ears. Our hearing is the essential tool to faithfully repeat the sounds we are learning .
During the suggested activities, apart from paying attention to the hearing, we are also going to pay attention to the touch, the body and we will even sing. We are going to practise phonetics using several strategies that will make easier that a good sound comes in, just the proper sound.
However, in the end, we will always need to come back to hearing to validate the task that has been done. To improve the phonetics it will be necessary to always return to hearing.
Therefore, we must strengthen and sensitise the hearing in order to attain its maximum potential. It will be so useful to succeed in this learning process, to set our hearing in optimal conditions, so as to make more efficient the task we are doing. There are sounds all around us constantly, and we often suffer from the noise pollution —little or much— with sounds of any kind. Our hearing has been used to create a defence mechanism to prevent those annoying sounds to reach the ear too intensely. The hearing carries out a progressive desensitisation to avoid hurting itself, and it does so quite often and unconsciously.
Thus, before learning some aspects of the phonetics of Catalan, this activity may help us on strengthening the sensitivity of our hearing. It is for this reason that we have suggested an activity related to hearing sensitisation and widening of the listening capability.
In this exercise you only have to listen to the sounds we can hear within the “silence” with the eyes shut.
Follow the instructions of the voice you are going to hear. During the speech there will be silences that will allow you to do what you have been asked for. The voice will be appearing between the silences with new instructions. In these silences the most active part of the exercise is developed.
Before starting, you must take into account the following aspects:
- Noise pollution must be reduced as much as possible.
- If you are at home with other people, you should warn them not to interrupt the exercise. It is also advisable to turn off your phone.
You may also take into consideration these other aspects:
- - You had better not lean on the back of the chair. You should keep your back free and straight, but always comfortable and with your body relaxed.
- - It would be recommendable to imagine that you are a tree and that your bones are in contact with the chair (the ischia). If you are standing, then imagine that your feet are the roots that go down; the rest of the body goes up, without any kind of effort, only by will, like if it was looking for the sunlight.
If for any reason you need to lean on the chair, do not worry. The exercise will still be useful to accomplish the main aim.
For more than 20 years and continuously I have put in practice this exercise with many sorts of students without taking into account their age, previous knowledge or any other feature. All students, after completing it, have found an improvement on their hearing. They have even found other positive effects beyond hearing, both in the physical and in the mood fields.
Next, you can have a look at this list of some of the many positive effects which students have benefit from by doing this practice.
Not everyone experiences all these effects, but with the activity you may experience many of them.
After finishing the exercises, some students have said:
- Now I can hear more sounds rather than before.
- Now I can decide what I want to listen to. I can get rid of the sounds that are not of my interest and pay more attention to those which I really want to listen to.
- I’m realising that I can hear with more accuracy.
- Now I notice, within the sounds I hear, much more richness.
- I could have never imagined that it was possible to hear so many different noises inside this silent room.
- As the exercise was proceeding, I could hear many things that I had never heard before.
- When we have listened again to the sounds in the room, they were louder.
- Now I am more concentrated.
- Now I feel more relaxed and ready to start working.
- I feel my back is now more straight, but without any effort.
- My shoulders are relaxed and I feel calmer.
- This exercise has filled me with peace.
- It is like if my back had grown. I feel taller.
- It seems like if I had become taller.
I invite you to experience it by yourself through the voice recording you can find right here. Every day you try the exercise, it may produce effects slightly different from those of the previous day. Hence, it will be a journey full of different adventures every day. Nevertheless, it will always produce the expected and intended effect, a greater sensitisation of your hearing and a better preparation to face the work on phonetics.