2001 Conference (May 27-29)

Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Fleurette Sweeney

PLAYSHOP: Patterns of Social Play




I believe that it is particularly important that we humans experience the sound of our language (both sung and spoken) in the natural setting of socially structured play during our childhood. The beauty of using folk song-games in such play is that the sound of the songs, which the we sing as we play, establishes the parameters of action. Our own voice governs our actions and decisions, whether these are expressed in time, space, through movement, or in response to one another. The songs hold things in balance in ways that are particularly meaningful to us.

During this playshop the participants can expect to participate in several traditional English folk songs folk song-games, selected for the way they Œholdı oral English. Connections will be drawn between the patterning of acoustic properties in these songs and in spoken English, namely:

  • the melody of the songs reflects intonation in speech;
  • the rhythm of the songs corresponds to patterns of articulation in speech;
  • the phrases and cadence in the songs correspond to those in ordinary speech;
  • the loud/soft clustering of sounds within phrases and word groupings in the songs, parallels similar dynamic patterning of stress/unstress relationships in speech.

The song-games have been developed in conjunction with children and teachers in classrooms across Canada and the United States over the past 30 years. Although the education of children has been the specific focus of this work, I will guide the participants to reflect on aspects of the type of social play with particular emphasis on oral language (both sung and spoken) as patterned sound.


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