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Name : Vina Hartsa A’yuni Hidayati
: 15320153
Class : A class
Analysis of Phonology and Phonetic Theory of The
Miracle Worker Movie
Helen Keller was actually born with normal hearing and vision. When she was six years old, she
then fell ill until convicted died. However, when Helen recovered, she had lost her senses of
hearing and vision which later caused her to be mute and did not know language.
Both her parents, Captain Arthur Henley Keller and Kate Adam Keller became desperate. They
were aware of the shortage of Hellen could cause a lot of problems because they were not able to
communicate with Hellen to know what Hellen try to point out. Her mother then took Anne
Sullivan as a teacher who would teach Hellen about language after he consulted in some people.
In the process of learning language, Anna had a lot of difficulties because of the attitude of
spoiled and petulant. Helen was introduced a lot of object words using sign-language and even
she was moved to a small cottage not far from his home so that Anna can be better focus on
teaching her. Although she can replicate the movements of fingers that had been taught, she
didn't really understand what the meaning of the movements. She just knows that the motion of
C-A-K-E is the same with the cake so that when she wanted a cake, she would form such
movements, but she does not understand that it is actually a symbol or words.
In this movie, we can know that learning language is not only through the senses of sight and
hearing, but also it can be by utilizing other sense such as touch, smell and taste. When someone
loses the sense of hearing sensitivity so that he cannot recognize the sounds and symbols of
sound, then he will not be able to imitate the speech of others and know the meanings of the
sounds. Even if the ill has happened since he was born or being a child, then someone will be in
trouble to recognize the words and the meanings, can even cause mute, like a case that occurred
in the movie.
Similarly, if a person cannot see, then he will not be able to see and recognize objects so that he
automatically wouldn't be able to understand the morphological structure of words. Here we can
use three other senses to learn the language because each object must have different texture,
taste, and smell. As we know in this movie when Anna first came to Mr. Keller’s home, she
deliberately dropped his briefcase to find out what the senses are still very sensitive to Helen and
she found that the vibration of falling matter evokes the sensitivity of taste sense towards Helen.
Then Anna decided that Helen had the potential to learn the language through sign language by
utilizing her other third senses based on behavior theory which using the method of training or
conditioning solely.
In sign languages, instead of phonetic features, there are three classes of primes - hand
configuration, the motion of hands toward or away from the body, the place of articulation, or
the locus, of the sign's movements. The hand configuration that formed the sound can represent
the alphabet or IPA (English) which is then able to form words. Thus, the structure of
morphology, syntax, semantics and phonology of words has been covered in its entirety of the
movements of sign language. Anna firstly taught the words which are interest towards Hellen by
making in touch the texture of objects and tasting the taste. Then the formed motions hint the
meaning of the words despite Hellen was not able to understand it.
In addition, there are a few hand movements in sign language which can directly found the set of
words phonemes. In this case, there are some words that have similar hand gestures, but has
significant differences from other movements such as candies, apples and jealous. It is called
minimal pairs. Helen also applied this when she called her mother by attaching the finger back to
the cheeks (the sign of movement).
Meanwhile, the finger-spelling of sign language will shape the complex and structured features.
These features are divided into two kinds, namely inherent features (IF) and prosodic features
(PF). The branch of IFs carries more lexical features contrasting of the PFs branch, such as
consonant carries more potential for lexical contrasts in a language. In addition, the movement
(PFs) serves as the "media" signal, such as a vocal function as media language.
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