Application of Cued Articulation to Aboriginal Students


Cued Articulation
  • Is a gestural system – enables these gestural language users to readily adopt it
  • Provides visual cues, compensating for chronic otitis media in these communities
  • Addresses manner and voicing distinctions: Aboriginal languages generally have no fricatives and no voiced/voiceless distinction in stops
  • Enables visual representation of morphological endings – difficult for AAE/Kriol speakers where these are not indicated by word endings.

In Aboriginal languages, there is no distinction between voiced and unvoiced stops. ‘…“problem pairs" are always a major challenge of ESL learners and the aboriginal students I've taught have benefited from learning the difference between the voiced and unvoiced with the fingers representing when to use it or not eg k/g, p/b etc.’
                                                                      Claire Smoker, formerly teacher at Kununurra District High School.

Cued Articulation reinforces the correct use of voicing – both in hand cues and colour coding.

Morphological endings

Articulatory difficulty: Aboriginal languages have few examples of more than one consonant together in word final position – hence their difficulty with articulating these grammatical markers:

cups ⇒ ‘cup’, dogs ⇒ ‘dog’
chopped ⇒ ‘chop’, rubbed ⇒‘rub’

Perceptual difficulty: A history of Otitis Media puts Indigenous children ‘…at increased risk for failing to hear morphophonological features in English, which is typically the language of instruction in Indigenous schools.’

Perceptual Consequences of Conductive Hearing Loss:
Speech Perception in Indigenous Students Learning English as a ‘School’ Language.
The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Audiology, 30 (1), p2.

Semantic/syntactic difficulty: In Aboriginal Australian English

  • Plural indicated by eg ‘two dog' / 'many dog’
  • Past tense not marked in regular verbs eg ‘’E look for that kangaroo before.’
  • Past tense indicated by eg ‘bin jump’.
  • Omission of copula: ‘That my brother house.’
  • Ref. Butcher, A., (2011) Speaking and Hearing Aboriginal Languages,
    SPA-NT Workshop, 23 September 2011.

Cueing these markers help speakers ‘see’ the endings. The application of Cued Articulation to facilitate the use of these morphological endings is demonstrated in the online course.

Cues for Aboriginal sounds

Jane Passy has developed cues for the dental, retroflex, palatal and glottal sounds of Aboriginal languages. These may be helpful to enable us to see the difference between sounds of SAE and the sounds of Aboriginal languages, and to facilitate literacy teaching where teaching takes place in Aboriginal languages. The onlinme course no longer included a module covering the Aboriginal sounds. However, a video is available of the Aboriginal module and can be viewed after conpleting the online course.