Persuasion in Sound: Reaching to the Speaking and Listening Aspects of Composition

Sonic Persuasion: Reading Sound in the Recorded Age

When I was in high school, I heard from my mother that if you read things loud, you can memorize things faster and practice your speaking at the same time. Great! A one stone two birds thing! I personally found the method quite useful and it helped me a lot to memorize new words in my textbooks and other readings. Later, I found reading loud helps me to do proof-reading much more efficiently. Sometimes it helps to correct words and sentence structures, sometimes it helps to change some words into ones that sounds better. The “tone and style” thing happens all the time.

Reading “Voice in the Cultural Soundscape: Sonic Literacy in Composition Studies” really makes me excited on how students’ ability to enhance their words, sentence structures, and voice can become more persuasive to their audience (Introduction). Their mentioning of using film studies, music, psychoacoustics, and audio technology is fascinating. Through the use of sound tracks, students write texts, combine verbal with visual and sonic elements to compose multilayered writings.

I think reading out loud and the sonic way of composition have something in common: they both use aural dimension to help students’ learning. While it is important to native speakers, it is more important for second language learners to practice aural and oral ability. Meanwhile, to use sound to learn is also important. For example, I used to have a habit of recording what I heard while listening to songs. I found my hobby quite conducive to my later listening ability. Then when I became a teacher, I asked my students to make changes to classics, write their own adapted lines and act them on a stage. I found students who participated in such acting activities became aware of their Chinese accent as they work to compare their own drama with that on the screen. This is also true for my own literacy story.

“Voice in the Cultural Soundscape: Sonic Literacy in Composition Studies”, the authors talk about the relationship between voice and its representation of gender and culture. I think it is peculiarly latent for second language learners. in the process of acquiring a foreign language literacy, we not only read and write, but more importantly, we have to practice listening and speaking. The listening and speaking skills are emphasized in the English departments in China to a certain degree that students are asked to imitate the accent of both English and American accents. We practice this by following to tapes and recording our own sound tracks to discern whether or not we have mastered the foreign accents.

When I was a translation and interpretation major, I practice translation and record my own sound track every day and night. Somehow, I really believe the kind of drill helped me. Or else, you would have to tolerate a much more worse accent of mine. Even that much practice, I think is not enough for me to communicate efficiently here. I still have a long way to go. I am a living example of the voice and culture relationship. And my friends from the United States, Britain, New Zealand, and the Philippines, they are all walking embodiment of voices and cultures in our foreign language department. Sometimes, I do think having one’s voice is a good thing to kind of preserve culture. I mean, when I saw an Asian face on TV who speaks fluent American accent English, my true feeling is creepy! I’d rather seeing people with certain faces speak differently. Yet, here is the States, where immigrants occupy certain percentage, so I’d better get used to the diversity and unity here.

“Literacy=Identity: Can You See Me?” piece is quite interesting. I will do my final project from the perspective of literacy, too. I love the idea of discovering the factors that influence students’ lives and experiences and the inspiration that we can become responsible and productive instructors and scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition. The practice of paying attention to students can also nurture our pedagogical trend in the future.

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