Drama in the language lab – Goffman to the rescue

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Ní Riain, Isobel
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Department of German, University College Cork
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Between 2011 and summer 2014 I taught Irish in the Modern Irish Department of University College Cork (UCC). I spent one hour a week with each of my two second year groups in the language lab throughout the academic year. Ostensibly, my task was to teach the students to pronounce Irish according to Munster Irish dialects. It was decided to use Relan Teacher software for this purpose. My main objective was to teach traditional Irish pronunciation and thus to struggle against the tide of the overbearing influence of English language pronunciation which is becoming an increasing threat to traditional spoken Irish. Achieving good pronunciation of Irish language sounds, where there is strong interference from English, is not easy. For many students there is no difference between an English /r/ and an Irish /r/. Irish has a broad and slender /r/ depending on the nearest vowel. Many students do not even acknowledge that Irish has to be pronounced differently and this is a tendency that seems to be gathering momentum. The question I asked at the beginning of my research was how could I cultivate a communication context in which students would start to use sounds they had been rehearsing in ...
Ní Riain, I. (2014) 'Drama in the language lab – Goffman to the rescue', Scenario: A Journal of Performative Teaching, Learning, Research, VIII(2), pp. 115-123. https://doi.org/10.33178/scenario.8.2.11