One of the most important topics in learning English is pronunciation. Students often feel very challenged by some difficult words like “through” and “rural” for example, usually because there are certain phonemes in the English language that are not usual or don’t exist in their native language. It is also a polarizing topic among teachers. There are some who believe that you should start teaching and focusing on pronunciation since day one, and others that think that it is a secondary topic. However, it doesn’t matter where you stand in this spectrum, we will all agree that tongue twisters are, at least, fun! In this post, I plan on explaining why tongue twisters are not only fun but can really help you with pronunciation.
First, let’s understand what tongue twisters are and take a look at some examples:
A tongue twister, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a word, phrase, or sentence difficult to articulate because of a succession of similar consonantal sounds”. They exist in practically every language, and are used by teachers worldwide. The idea is to increase the speed you say the tongue twister as you get better at it. Try doing that: read the tongue twisters below slowly and then increase the speed as you go. Some examples of tongue twisters in English are:
Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?
A loyal warrior will rarely worry why we rule.
She sells seashells by the seashore.
A pessimistic pest exists amidst us.
The chic Sikh's sixty-sixth sheep is sick
Now, how can those sentences be useful to my pronunciation? Research from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) showed that tongue twisters really do help kids with speech impediments and stuttering. They proved that practicing tongue twisters help the coordination between one’s brain and their tongues. Due to the difficulty of some tongue twisters, brain connectivity is improved when practicing tongue twisters. You can read more about the research here.
Are you ready to try some tongue twisters and improve your pronunciation? Check out the videos below and practice them as much as you can to improve your brain connectivity with your mouth and get better at pronunciation.