The puppet and the puppeteer

 

The coexistence between the puppet (the speaker of a foreign language) and the puppeteer (the decision-maker) could develop in two stages.
Whether we like it or not, the fusion between the two entities relies, primarily on duplicity; obviously in a positive sense. We all experience this, on a daily or even hourly basis, when we greet our acquaintances or even friends with fake smiles, insincere handshakes, or phony hugs where people practically kiss the air rather than the person they are embracing. Not only can this be done, without complaint from either party, but also has turned into a universally agreed-upon code of conduct among people. For, if it weren't for this precious social invention (duplicity), civilization would have gone extinct long before it came into full existence.
There are two types of puppets, among other ones, that a decision-maker has to hone his skills with; the string puppet and the glove one. When a puppeteer performs using a string puppet, his presence sabotages the performance, merely because he can be seen. But, what if there are no strings attached?! What if the puppeteer immerses fully into some sort of a mascot?! This is where a mediocre magician turns into an illusionist. The work of an illusionist borders a miracle. If an artist like Chris Angel - the Mind Freak, existed only two thousand years ago, there would not have been any room for prophets of that time because, in comparison, their "miracles" would have seemed to be child's play and who knows? Maybe this form of performance would have replaced religion altogether!!!
What are strings?
Strings loudly vouch for the mastery of the puppeteer, but at the same time, cause people to admire the puppeteer rather than the authenticity of the puppet.  Therefore, it is, or it must be the goal of the decision-maker to cut the strings one notch at a time, so that he/she can wholly fit into the gloves and become one with Pinocchio, thus making Geppetto disappear.
In order not to get too theoretical, allow me to explain what those strings are made of (since, these writings are highly likely to become overly symbolic).
One of the main quality-determining strings is the speaker's voice. Many a time, we come across speakers, who do utter foreign words perfectly, albeit pronunciation-wise, while the voice gives away the fact that this person has "learned" to perform the language. One of the ultimate goals in perfecting one's simulation of the target language is achieved by changing one's vocal rendering of those foreign utterances.
A native speaker is exposed, from birth, to a wide range of voices; from their mother, father, grandparents and other relatives, who all have different tones of voice, all the way to almost non-existing voices heard from for example, cartoon characters. This variety causes the child to select certain voice qualities, obviously changing at different ages, which in fact are a self-selected resultant of this almost infinite range; and this is where one's vocal individuality comes into existence.
A non-native, however, produces an erratically, chopped at times, sound quality which is devoid of consistency and this is why he or she is labelled as phony.
Is there a solution?
Of course, there is! A non-native speaker must try to imitate actors, singers, rappers, celebrities in general and even cartoon characters to fill the linguistic void.  This will force him to initially familiarize himself with these figures that are in fact a cultural river which the speaker has to immerse himself in. How can a learner limit him/herself to soulless textbooks, not know the key figures in a culture who possess different language textures in their voices, and claim he has actually learned the language?
How would he fully comprehend the sentence "Don't be such a Monica!" without having seen the hit series "Friends"?




 

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