PG-3: EF-A

No additional practice materials are included in this session. Many of us who cue vowels, diphthongs,and consonants quite accurately in single syllables or brief utterances still have problems when we put these syllables together to form phrases or sentences. Our main concern at this point should be to determine what kinds of errors we make so that we can avoid the same errors as we grow more fluent.

If you have completed the Basic Cued Speech Proficiency Rating, check now to see what errors were listed in the PG-3 portion of the test. Were any of your errors vowels or diphthongs? If the answer is "Yes," it might be wise to review appropriate practice materials in PG-1:EF-E, EF-F,EF-G, and EF-I. Don't waste your time practicing vowels or diphthongs in isolated syllables which you already cue accurately. Concentrate your efforts on the words, phrases or sentences which contain the troublesome phonemes.

Were any of the errors consonants? If so, try to determine what caused the error:

  1. If the error was one of handshape confusion (you substituted a 2 handshape for a 7, etc.), review PG-2: EF-B, EF-C, EF-D, EF-E, EF-F, or EF-G. Again, it is very important that you seek out those practice materials which are related to the problem. Easy repetition of skills you already possess is not efficient practice.
  2. If the errors were omissions of handshapes -- especially in initial or final clusters, review PG-2: EF-A, EF-H, EF-I, or EF-J. Remember, this time you are practicing for accuracy and not for speed. Practice only those consonants or consonant combinations which produced the cueing slips.
We have observed that when veteran cuers do make errors while cueing phrases or sentences, there are generally two basic causes for such mis-cues:
  1. Errors influenced by English spelling, and
  2. Omissions of phonemes or syllables, or reversals of phonemes which often occur in imprecise articulation.
The spelling-induced errors are of many types. Suppose, for example, a person wants to cue a not-too-common word such as "cabinet." Of course, he knows how to say/kabunut/, but when cueing he thinks of the spelling and cues /kabinet/[2-t,4-t,4-c,5-s]. The vowels follow the spelling rather than the spoken vowels. Some words invite assimilation when we say them. A classic example is "pumpkin" which many pronounce /puhngkin/ [1-s/d,8-s,2-t,4-s]. The cuer says /puhngkin/ -- but cues /puhmpkin/ because he is influenced by the spelling. In this instance speech is informal but cueing is formal -- a confusing mismatch. Cues are often added because of spelling when not even the most precise speaker would say such added sounds. For example, we say "don' try" and leave off the first /t/ because it is physically difficult to articulate two /t/ sounds consecutively. The cuer may insert the two /t/ cues because he things the spelling demands it. Most people say "of'n" but some cue /awften/ or /awftun/ because of the spelling. The cuer may say "cryin" but cue "crying" [2-s,3-s,5-t,5-t,8-s]. The /ng/ sound causes many cueing errors. People say /king/ [2-t,8-s] but cue /ki+n+g/ [2-t,4-s,7-s].

It's common for people to leave out phonemes -- especially final consonants -- when they speak. "Good night" becomes "Guh+nigh"; "arctic" becomes "artic"; "tests" becomes "tess." But experienced cuers who say such words correctly will omit some of the cues, especially in rapid speech. Their hands just can't seem to keep up with their articulatio skills. Other sounds commonly omitted in speech /m/,/n/,/ng/ and /l/ also seem to be cueing omissions. The cuer may say "lunch" but cues "lu'ch" with the /n/ missing. Why" Because it's much easier to cue /luhch/ than it is to cue /luhnch/ [6-s/d,4-s,8-s].Sound reversals which occur in speech ("cavalry" becomes "calvary" or "ask" becomes "aks") also occur independently in hand cues. When speaking, some people say "Mis'sippi" or "prob'ly." A syllable is omitted. Cuers have been known to omit cued syllables -- or to add additional syllables with cues. Why this happens we don't know for sure. We only know that common slips of the tongue can also be seen as "slips of the hand" in cueing.

When reviewing the appropriate practice materials suggested above, always make sure that you cue the troublesome phoneme correctly in a phrase or a sentence -- never just as a single syllable. If you do choose to practice single syllable words in the lists, put them into meaningful phrases or sentences beforeyou leave them. Otherwise you'l lbe wasting your practice time and energy.

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