Our Center presents an innovative method for the accelerated learning of foreign languages. This method is already being successfully used in over 300 centers worldwide.
The original method consists of aural effects and stimuli using a dedicated device named the «electronic ear», through which «filtered» sound is emitted at a specific frequency.
Our ears constantly intercept sounds emitted by us as well as those around us and are accustomed to hear at certain frequencies. In the case of the frequencies of foreign languages we are often «deaf» to the frequencies of foreign languages (see below). Hence the applicability of the research of Professor Tomatis in the assimilation of foreign languages: as we often do not correctly «hear» foreign tones and overtones, we cannot pronounce them properly. By training your ears at the outset of your study course you can substantially decrease the time required to learn a foreign language. As soon as a person’s ears become «trained», that person can easily listen and perceive new sounds, learn new words more quickly and considerably improve his or her pronunciation.
By using the TOMATISâ method in parallel with learning a foreign language, a person not only accelerates his or her learning abilities but also substantially saves in terms of time and cost. It is common that for transition between levels, whilst learning a language (for example from Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate) an individual requires 180–200 hours of training, whilst if done in conjunction with the TOMATISâ method as few as 80 hours are required. For those who already have a command of the language, the TOMATISâ method helps to improve pronunciation, feel of the «rhythm» of the language, and master its intonation.
The Tomatis Method profoundly affects the listening function by reeducating the ear, our primary receiver of language. The link between the quality of the auditory system and the voice, especially voice timbre, is crucial; therefore, if we want to have an impact on the voice, we must first act upon the ear, the seat of listening and of the analysis of sounds, both of which are indispensable to effective learning. The above-mentioned principle is fundamental to language acquisition.
This reeducation consists of training the ear to perceive and analyze different frequency ranges and varied rhythms, depending upon the language to be acquired. In fact, the frequency ranges and rhythms differ from one language to another, making it necessary for the ear to accustom itself to a series of juggling acts.
A normal human ear can perceive a range of sounds from 16 hertz to 16 000 hertz; however, each language has preferred frequency bands, that is, frequency zones within which the analysis of phonemes* is accomplished with the greatest precision. We refer to these frequency zones as «passing bands» The «passing bands» often differ markedly from language to language. As an example, we give below the preferred frequency bands of several European languages.
Table of preferred frequency bands of several languages.
Furthermore, the Slavic languages have a much wider frequency band than those of most European languages. This fact might explain the legendary ability of native speakers of these languages to acquire other languages with ease.
According to the basic principles of the Tomatis Method, effective listening is determined by three parameters of language in addition to the preferred frequency band. These are: selectivity, the ethnic curve, and latency time.
Selectivity refers to the ability of the ear to make fine phonetic discriminations. The ethnic curve corresponds to the general aspect of a composite listening curve typical of a given language posture: it is either compatible or incompatible with the curve of the language to be studied. Finally, latency time refers to the time necessary for a speaker to begin to control his oral production.
Training with the Tomatis Effect Electronic Ear, then, enables a real auditory exercise to take place. This auditory «gymnastic» exercise is designed to increase the range of sounds and rhythms perceived. Even so, auditory training cannot replace a formal learning phase necessary to language acquisition. Rather, it should be considered as a tool capable of accelerating the pace of learning and of strengthening its long-term effects.
The Tomatis Method: a technique that can save 100 hours of language instruction
* a phoneme is a set of phones (speech sounds or sign elements) that are cognitively equivalent. It is the basic unit that distinguishes between different words or morphemes — changing an element of a word from one phoneme to another produces either a different word or obvious nonsense, whereas changing an element from one phone to another, when both belong to the same phoneme, produces the same word (sometimes with an odd or incomprehensible pronunciation).