Listening as Multi-Tasking: Visualizing the invisible processes in listening

Speaker:Prof. Z.N. Patil| Location:Auditorium| Date:August 11, 2016| Time:1:30 - 3:30 pm

znpatilProfessor. Z.N. Patil



When we listen to people around us, several processes take place in our mind simultaneously. As we know, the first process is the hearing process. The speaker’s words, phrases, clauses, and utterances fall onto the listener’s ears. This, as we know, happens almost automatically and effortlessly. As soon as words fall onto our ears, the process of interpretation begins. A competent listener, if s/he is a competent user of the language as well, does several things synchronously. S/he mentally registers the speaker’s use of norm-deviating and norm-approximating segmental features (e. g., /p/ and /b/; /f/ and /v/; /v/ and /w/, etc.), supra-segmental features (word stress, grammatical stress, sentence stress, grammatical and attitudinal role of intonation, rhythm, tone of voice, pitch, pace, pauses, etc.), and use of non-verbal resources (gestures, facial expressions, etc.). An expert listener is sensitive to all these features as well as grammatical, semantic, pragmatic, and cultural subtleties and nuances. Each of these features deserves an independent treatment, is worth a separate research project. The present paper cum workshop focuses on appropriate use of vocabulary or use of appropriate vocabulary in speech. Understandably, not every speaker is a proficient user of the language and so when a competent user of the language listens to a not-so-competent speaker, the former goes through several processes such as spotting an inappropriate word or expression, crowding of synonyms, clustering of synonyms, competing of synonyms, selecting an appropriate word, erasing the inappropriate word used by the speaker, and replacing it with what the listener thinks is an appropriate word or phrase. We can group these seven processes into three main categories-catapulting, centripetal process and centrifugal process. The present speech cum workshop will help the audience to visualize the otherwise invisible mental processes that the presenter went through while listening to speakers with insufficient command of the language.
Key expressions: spotting/detecting, crowding, clustering, competing, selecting, erasing, replacing; catapulting, centripetal and centrifugal processes


Dr. Z. N. Patil has been teaching English language and literature for 44 years. Two years ago he retired as Professor of English and Head of the Department of Training and Development, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. Presently, he is an Emeritus Professor of applied linguistics.

Professor Patil did his MA, M Phil and Ph D from Pune University, India. He did a Postgraduate Certificate in the Teaching of English from Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, India. He was awarded British Council scholarship in 1991 and did a Diploma and MA in TESOL from University of Edinburgh, UK.

Professor Patil has to his credit 20 textbooks, 6 resource books and 70 articles published in national and international journals. He has successfully guided 10 M Phil and 17 Ph D scholars. So far he has delivered sponsored, invited keynote addresses and plenary talks at international conferences in Bangladesh, Canada, China, Dubai, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Oman, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. He delivered special talks at several universities in Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, UK and Vietnam.

He was deputed as an English language expert by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India to develop spoken communication skills of prospective diplomats at the Institute for International Relations, Hanoi, Vietnam from 1999 to 2002. Later from 2003 to 2006 he served as Senior English Language advisor in Japan.

Professor Patil has been a senior advisor to several online journals such as Asian EFL Journal. He is a founding and management member of ‘English Scholars Beyond Borders’ group.

He can be contacted via mobile (+91-9652427211, +91-9326897527) and email (

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Category: Day 1, Day 1 Workshop, Plenary Speakers, Workshop