Tongue twisters are phrases that are designed to be difficult to say, testing one’s articulation. They usually do not make much sense, and rely, generally, on alternation between similar sounds, like that of s and sh, or on a sequence of sounds that requires ceaseless repositioning of the tongue.
Tongue twister is an example of spoken English exercises that are developed by combining the effects of similar sounding words or alliteration with a group of words that are intended to be very hard to speak or result in a slip of tongue.
Tongue twisters can be used as a type of spoken word game. They help develop articulation and reduce the probability of fumbling and stuttering during conversation. The basic aim is to familiarise the tongue with difficult and same sounding words, and to make the mouth muscles flexible. Adeptness with tongue twisters will naturally lend confidence to one’s speech and will also help improve pronunciation to a great extent.
Here are is a tongue twister that you can start practicing with:
The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us.
The above example has been claimed to be the most difficult of common English tongue twisters by William Poundstone.
Some of the other popular tongue twisters in the English language are:
She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I'm sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I'm sure she sells sea-shore shells.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.
The butter Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter
And made her batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter makes better batter.
So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter
Making Betty Botter's bitter batter better
Which witch wished which wicked wish?
Shep Schwab shopped at Scott’s Schnapps shop,
One shot of Scott’s Schnapps stopped Schwab’s watch.
Mr. See owned a saw.
And Mr. Soar owned a seesaw.
Now, See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw
Before Soar saw See,
Which made Soar sore.
Had Soar seen See's saw
Before See sawed Soar's seesaw,
See's saw would not have sawed
So See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw.
But it was sad to see Soar so sore
just because See's saw sawed
I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won't wish the wish you wish to wish.
How to master the exercise of learning and speaking tongue twisters correctly?
Tongue twisters help to perk up spoken English and pronunciation immensely. Here are a few things to keep in mind while doing this exercise:
· The first and foremost task is to prepare a list of popular tongue twisters.
· Once you have a good collection of tongue twisters, start practicing them one at a time.
· Say them aloud and pronounce each word slowly. Keep doing this till you don’t get comfortable pronouncing each word separately and clearly.
· Speed up once you are comfortable and have learnt the twister.
· It’s better to do this exercise in front of someone who is good in English or is an expert in voice over and diction learning. They could guide you and also measure your improvement.
· Practice this exercise on a regular basis to improve pronunciation and fluency.
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