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Part 1: The Elemental Sounds

1A The Process of Distinguishing (12min)

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So far, we've learned how to engage the Melodic layer of speech (Timing, Stress & Pitch). The final layer of speech is the articulation layer, and that is what we will focus on this week. First you will learn what all the Elemental Sounds of your target language are, and practice distinguishing them from one another. Then later, you will fine-tune your pronunciation and practice playing with these sounds in the context of full speech. In the first video below, I introduce the concept of Elemental Sounds and the process of distinguishing them from one another. When you're finished watching, post your three biggest takeaways to the #learn channel along with a screenshot.

1B Sound Inventory Audit

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To help you learn all the Elemental Sounds, I break them down into categories. Then for each category, I make a video talking through the sounds and their articulation and provide audio recordings of a native speaker saying words with the elemental sounds of that category. Your task is to practice echoing the native speaker in each recording to assess which sounds give you the most difficulty in hearing and/or pronunciation. In your Google sheet, give a confidence score for each sound. For EACH category, post to #articulation a brief summary of which sounds you found easy and which sounds you found challenging, along with any other reflection you think is relevant.

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Spanish
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French
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German
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Portuguese (Br)
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Portuguese (Pt)

1C Stacking Words by Elemental Sound

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Stacking is a technique I use to better organize and network words in the mind. As we will discuss at a later time, the more networked and organized your word associations, the more fluent you will be. At the end of the week, we will stack words based on rhyme and alliteration. Then later on we will stack words based on their narrative function. For now, we are simply stacking words based on their elemental sounds. Click your target language below to access the Elemental Sound Stax template for your target language. Then click "Fileβ€”>Make a copy" to create your own version of the document to edit. For each elemental sound, try to come up with at least 5 words that have that sound. As you go along, read the words out loud to yourself, emphasizing the shared elemental sound to further ingrain the sound in your mind. Then once you have five words per sound, grow your stacks to your heart's content. The more words you stack, the better you will ingrain those words in your living vocabulary. When you're done with your stacking session, check the "Totals" sheet and share a screenshot of your totals to the #articulation channel, along with a brief reflection on your experience.