Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:54 pm

Cainntear wrote:Even within the native speaking community, we often modify our speech to be more similar to people we're speaking to in order to make ourselves seem more friendly and likeable -- this is called convergence. (There's also divergence -- when we dislike someone, we'll often modify our speech to be as little like them as possible.) This only happens if you show empathy, so anyone who is socially awkward is less likely to do this.


This got me thinking of Tim Keeley's presentation at the Polyglot Gathering 2016 - Accents: Sounding Like a Native Speaker – Myths and Reality. The more we identify ourself with and connect emotionally to speakers of our target language, the more likely we are to pick up a good accent, and the more native it will sound. Accent is a conscious or a subconscious choice.
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Cainntear » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:07 pm

desitrader wrote:
Cainntear wrote:The first person who can define what emotional intelligence actually means wins a coconut. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard it talked about, but I have never heard an understandable definition.


That's true with everything else in life, including what constitutes intelligence, fluency, or good pronunciation.

Not really. With other forms of intelligence, we can give a reasonable, internally-consistent definition.

e.g. kinaesthetic intelligence: can make accurate and quick decisions about how to move to achieve a desired result, and can learn quickly new skills in this area. (e.g. kick a football and accurately hit a target)

I can disagree with the definition, I can call it wrong, but it's a definition.

But if you try to come up with a definition for "emotional intelligence", the logical conclusion is that the ultimate manifestation of "emotional intelligence" is a psychopath -- a charismatic individual who can deftly manipulate the emotions of others -- who can convince others to execute sadistic murders on his* behalf.

* Note that the use of "his" here is deliberate -- psychopathy is far more common among men than women. This is particularly interesting because most people who try to define emotional intelligence tend to look at mothering instincts and claim that women are more emotionally intelligent than men.

Which brings us back to "empathy", because women are more empathetic than men, and most of what is called emotional intelligence is just empathy.

...that is, according to everything I've been shown to date. If someone has seen a definition that isn't just a rebranding of empathy, I would be genuinely interested.
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby reineke » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:08 pm

Language aptitude for pronunciation in advanced second language (L2) Learners: Behavioural predictors and neural substrates

Our behavioural results showed that phonetic coding ability and empathy, but not phonological working memory, predict L2 pronunciation aptitude in advanced learners...

We suggest that the acquisition of L2 pronunciation aptitude is a dynamic process, requiring a variety of neural resources at different processing stages over time.

Language aptitude is traditionally defined as a largely innate, relatively fixed talent for learning language (Abrahamsson & Hyltenstam, 2008) and is considered independent of other cognitive abilities, including intelligence... Among the four subcomponents of language aptitude proposed by Carroll (1981), phonetic coding ability (PCA) mainly relates to pronunciation skills. Any subject of low PCA abilities will have troubles not only in remembering phonetic material or word form, but also in mimicking speech sounds...

An association between empathy and the capacity for mastery of L2 pronunciation was reported in several studies. It was suggested that both empathy and L2 pronunciation capacity were influenced by the same underlying process – permeability of ‘‘ego boundary’’. More recently the discovery of mirror neurons has provided another possible explanation to the process of language acquisition."

"...The current results suggest that L2 pronunciation aptitude in advanced learners relies on the development of the whole speech-motor control network, including areas related to overt articulation or speech motor executive loop... Therefore, the exclusion of the overt articulation from the PWM model as a language learning device is rather arbitrary."
http://blog.susannereiterer.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/01Hu_Reiterer_BrainLang2012online.pdf

On the Relationship between Aptitude and Intelligence in Second Language Acquisition
If aptitude is truly something independent of and distinct from intelligence, one may reasonably ask what precisely aptitude is. For their part, Miyake and Friedman acknowledge that “WM plays a central role in all forms of higher-level cognition”. If all forms of higher cognition are included, then WM sounds suspiciously like intelligence.

The IQ test itself clearly probes memory and elements of analytic capacity. It is now appropriate to ask: Does aptitude get at something that intelligence does not? Do intelligence tests miss something crucial that aptitude better explains?

...A normal full scale IQ score reflects, among other things, individual performance on tests of spatial understanding, memory, pattern recognition, and linguistic knowledge of various sorts. The final numerical score results from a mathematical operation that incorporates the various scores on the subsections in one overall score. The result is that a person with an IQ score of 100 could have a very different individual intellectual profile than five other people with the same IQ score. Each person could perform better or worse on the various parts of the test, yet each could still have a composite score of 100. In theory, this means that one person with an IQ score of 100 could be much better in math than another person with the same score....The case of CJ, chronicled by Obler (1989), is most interesting in this regard. CJ has an exceptional ability to learn languages. He achieved native-like proficiency in several languages after the onset of puberty...

If the researchers are unified on the relationship between higher intelligence and greater success with academic L2 language, they are equally convinced that higher intelligence plays little or no role in many communicative tasks... Genesee points out that IQ scores played no role in the ability of individuals to acquire certain communicative aspects of a second language. On such skills as interpersonal communication, pronunciation, and listening comprehension, higher IQ scores were shown to be insignificant."

Conclusion

"Those who regard innate capacity as aptitude fail to show how aptitude is fundamentally different from intelligence and what is indicated on an intelligence test. The concept of aptitude was thus shown to be empty. The evidence that higher IQ scores correlated with better performance on academic aspects of second language acquisition proved strong. It was also argued that the claims that IQ is irrelevant to communicative second language tasks are somewhat dubious."
http://tesolal.columbia.edu/article/aptitude-and-intelligence/

Auditory intelligence: Theoretical considerations and empirical findings
Highlights
• Auditory nonverbal intelligence was clearly distinct from academic intelligence.
• Auditory speech intelligence could be subsumed under a verbal reasoning factor.
• Musical training was associated with better performance on the auditory nonverbal tasks but not on the auditory speech tasks.
http://fulltext.study/preview/pdf/364714.pdf

Social intelligence and auditory intelligence : useful constructs?
This dissertation aims to clarifiy (1) the internal structure of social intelligence (SI) and auditory intelligence (AuI), (2) their relationship to academic intelligence (AcI), and (3) their relationship to one another.
https://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/binary/UK2PND5QSPF4YRDVDRTMCMYK44KX73FE/full/1.pdf
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Cainntear » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:20 pm

DaveBee wrote:
Cainntear wrote:
Random Review wrote:I read somewhere (possibly HTLAL?) that people who are more skilled with empathy tend to have better accents.

That seems quite plausible. Even within the native speaking community, we often modify our speech to be more similar to people we're speaking to in order to make ourselves seem more friendly and likeable -- this is called convergence. (There's also divergence -- when we dislike someone, we'll often modify our speech to be as little like them as possible.) This only happens if you show empathy, so anyone who is socially awkward is less likely to do this.
Doesn't this apply more broadly to groups as well?

Of course.

Identifying with the L2 natives as a peer group you want to belong to, and so mimic (better accent). Or identifying yourself within an L1 peer group, using an L2 for a limited purpose (not such a good accent).

It's not just about identifying, though, and I think that's a mistake that leads a lot of people to retain a strong foreign accent, as well as retaining many foreignisms in terms of grammar, idiom and phraseology.

A breakthrough I had was when I was hanging around with a lot of foreigners who would kiss each other at the end of the evening. This wasn't natural to me, and I felt awkward doing it. This made me look more distant and antisocial than I really am, and I realised that by behaving "like me" I was not being perceived "like me". In order to be perceived "like me", I had to change my behaviour.

This was when I'd just started to get serious about languages, and it was a lesson that I took to heart: language is not identity, it is a means of communicating identity. My identity in English isn't "foreigner", it's "me", so I want that to follow through in any language.
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Hypatia » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:24 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote: This got me thinking of Tim Keeley's presentation at the Polyglot Gathering 2016 - Accents: Sounding Like a Native Speaker – Myths and Reality. The more we identify ourself with and connect emotionally to speakers of our target language, the more likely we are to pick up a good accent, and the more native it will sound. Accent is a conscious or a subconscious choice.


Hmm. I am learning German at the moment. I like the language, I like Germans and I like Germany. I am reasonably intelligent and can pick up grammar points very quickly. I am even fairly empathetic. But my accent is still rubbish. My mouth will just not make the right sounds!

The earlier point about kinaesthetic skill was an interesting one; I am malcoordinated and bad at dancing too, so maybe it all goes together.
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Adrianslont » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:59 pm

Hypatia wrote:
jeff_lindqvist wrote: This got me thinking of Tim Keeley's presentation at the Polyglot Gathering 2016 - Accents: Sounding Like a Native Speaker – Myths and Reality. The more we identify ourself with and connect emotionally to speakers of our target language, the more likely we are to pick up a good accent, and the more native it will sound. Accent is a conscious or a subconscious choice.


Hmm. I am learning German at the moment. I like the language, I like Germans and I like Germany. I am reasonably intelligent and can pick up grammar points very quickly. I am even fairly empathetic. But my accent is still rubbish. My mouth will just not make the right sounds!

The earlier point about kinaesthetic skill was an interesting one; I am malcoordinated and bad at dancing too, so maybe it all goes together.


On the subject of kinaesthetic skill and dancing, I will muddy the waters even more. I have a friend who is an excellent jazz drummer, plays all sorts of rhythms and teaches at the highest level but he can't dance. It seems we have to subdivide kinaesthetic intelligence or bring in other factors. I suspect it's other factors in his case and I suspect that the other factor is something to do with ego.
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby reineke » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:33 pm

Cainntear wrote:
desitrader wrote:
Cainntear wrote:The first person who can define what emotional intelligence actually means wins a coconut. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard it talked about, but I have never heard an understandable definition.


That's true with everything else in life, including what constitutes intelligence, fluency, or good pronunciation.

Not really. With other forms of intelligence, we can give a reasonable, internally-consistent definition...

But if you try to come up with a definition for "emotional intelligence", the logical conclusion is that the ultimate manifestation of "emotional intelligence" is a psychopath -- a charismatic individual who can deftly manipulate the emotions of others -- who can convince others to execute sadistic murders on his* behalf.

* Note that the use of "his" here is deliberate -- psychopathy is far more common among men than women. This is particularly interesting because most people who try to define emotional intelligence tend to look at mothering instincts and claim that women are more emotionally intelligent than men.

Which brings us back to "empathy", because women are more empathetic than men, and most of what is called emotional intelligence is just empathy.

...that is, according to everything I've been shown to date. If someone has seen a definition that isn't just a rebranding of empathy, I would be genuinely interested.


Emotional Intelligence Not Relevant to Psychopaths

"Psychopathy is a well-known personality disorder characterised by callousness, shallow emotions, and willingness to manipulate other people for selfish ends (Hare, 1999). Emotional deficits seem to be a core feature of psychopathy. For example, there is evidence that psychopaths lack normal response differentiation to emotional and neutral words, and may have impaired recognition of emotional faces..."

"EI measures such as the managing emotions subtest assess knowledge, but do not assess actual skill in dealing with emotions (Brody, 2004). That is, a person may be aware of what they are supposed to do when dealing with an emotional person, but in practice they may or may not have the skill or ability to actually do it. Furthermore, whether a person uses their knowledge in daily life is not necessarily an issue of intelligence at all, as it may depend on habits, integrity and motivation (Locke, 2005).

"Psychopaths are supposed to be deficient in empathy yet they did not seem to be lacking ability to accurately perceive emotion in this study. This suggests either that the emotional perception measure is not a valid indicator of empathic ability or that in some sense psychopaths do not lack empathy. Perhaps psychopaths do perceive emotions accurately in others but the problem is that they are not moved by them. In other words, they know how others feel but simply do not care...

Similarly in regard to psychopaths, the mere fact that they do not endorse the “correct” answers on EI tests does not mean they lack some form of “intelligence” required to understand emotions, because the test itself is not a measure of intelligence (Locke, 2005) but one of conformity to social norms. By definition, psychopaths disregard social norms, so the test does not seem to tell us anything we do not already know."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201209/emotional-intelligence-not-relevant-psychopaths

Inside the Mind of a Psychopath – Empathic, But Not Always
Brain imaging shows psychopaths can empathize but do not empathize spontaneously

"So psychopathic individuals do not simply lack empathy. Instead, it seems as though for most of us, empathy is the default mode. If we see a victim, we share her pain. For the psychopathic criminals of our study, empathy seemed to be a voluntary activity. If they want to, they can empathize, and that explains how they can be so charming, and maybe so manipulative. Once they have seduced you into doing what serves their purpose, the effortful empathy would though probably disappear again. Free of the constraints of empathy, they is then little to stop them from using violence."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-empathic-brain/201307/inside-the-mind-psychopath-empathic-not-always
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby YtownPolyglot » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:30 pm

These things are really difficult to measure. People with a more trained ear or better hearing may be more likely to be able to reproduce sounds and tones. I found Mandarin and the Scandinavian languages a bit more of a challenge for this reason, but I suspect it's not so much of a question of empathy or intelligence.

What would happen if we asked whether the ability to memorize vocabulary or to apply grammar were a function of intelligence?
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Random Review » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:54 pm

Hypatia wrote:
jeff_lindqvist wrote: This got me thinking of Tim Keeley's presentation at the Polyglot Gathering 2016 - Accents: Sounding Like a Native Speaker – Myths and Reality. The more we identify ourself with and connect emotionally to speakers of our target language, the more likely we are to pick up a good accent, and the more native it will sound. Accent is a conscious or a subconscious choice.


Hmm. I am learning German at the moment. I like the language, I like Germans and I like Germany. I am reasonably intelligent and can pick up grammar points very quickly. I am even fairly empathetic. But my accent is still rubbish. My mouth will just not make the right sounds!

The earlier point about kinaesthetic skill was an interesting one; I am malcoordinated and bad at dancing too, so maybe it all goes together.


Unless you also had more problems than is usual pronouncing English correctly growing up, that is unlikely to be the reason IMO. You already learned to pronounce your own language perfectly.
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Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Hypatia » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:59 am

Random Review wrote:Unless you also had more problems than is usual pronouncing English correctly growing up, that is unlikely to be the reason IMO. You already learned to pronounce your own language perfectly.


I do remember having problems with a few sounds when I was 4 or 5, but have no idea whether I was outside the norm in this.

In any case, though, isn't there a window for picking up native pronunciation that closes at 7 or 8 in most cases? My 6-year-old godson goes to a French club after school; his grasp of the actual language is very limited, but he can pronounce the French sounds perfectly, even those that are most difficult for English speakers.
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