Urban Sky Trust

Parent Strategy #5

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Parent Strategy #5
The CHEAP HOTEL (CAPITALIZING on Suprasegmentals)

When you go to a cheap hotel where the walls are paper thin, you can hear the people in the room next door. And, even though you cant hear the actual sounds or words very well, you still can tell whether they are fighting or making love or casually packing up to leave.

How? How do we know?

We know because…

When people are fighting, their voices are loud, higher pitched, and full of staccato stress patterns. Words are spoken quickly, in long strings, and are frequently interrupted.

When people are making love their voices are softer, with varying pitches, and continuous with long pauses. Words are spoken slowly and are rarely interrupted.

When people pack up their suitcases leisurely to leave, their voices are neither loud nor soft, even pitched, and lack much stress. Words are spoken in a ping pong rhythm.

These vocal clues (loud/quiet, fast/slow, etc.) are called suprasegmentals. There are five suprasegmentals: pitch, duration, intensity, timing, and stress. Its important for you to know two things: 1) even profoundly deaf children can hear them and 2) suprasegmentals provide meaning. So if your child can hear them and we know they can help someone understand, we probably want to use more of them

Which would be easier to understand if you were in the cheap hotel?...

Open. Close it. Sit down. Ni-nite. No,no. help me. Stop it. Bye-bye.
Ooooooopen. Close the door. Sit down. (lip smack) Ni-ni-nite. Etc.

So, since your child cannot yet understand the words, we can use the Cheap Hotel strategy to make it easier and quicker for him to understand the language we are using. Lets use up,up,up,up and doooooowwwn. Brrrr, cold and hot! Etc.