Speak Better with Tongue Twisters

Remember a few years back when President Bush Sr. was giving a speech and said, “We have met with some sex?” What he meant to say was we have met with some “success.” Of course the audience laughed but a little tongues twisters practice could have helped Bush to glide right over those “same sounding, string of “s” words.”

Practicing tongue twisters is what all broadcast announcers do routinely. Ever cartoon and commercial “voice over,” every actor in a play, in a movie, news anchors, news reporters, people who read teleprompters, and speech givers of every stripe, get ready to talk by “loosening their tongue,” with tongue twisters. Tongue twisters help speakers to glide over strange words and odd series of words that the tongue can trip over and make the speaker look unprepared or unprofessional. You can even use tongue twisters to make your” angry bird,” bad attitude, children lighten up a bit.

Tongue twisters are also called limericks such as this: Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle-sifter, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistle, thrust 3000 thistles through the thick of his thumb.” The point of this limerick is to get the speaker to “spit out those Ts,” and not use lazy “Ts” that sound like Ds. When you can whiz right through a string of these “thistle sifting” limericks you will be amazed at how easily odd or strange word combinations flow right off your tongue. Try this one–fast: “The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep is sick.” Or this: “The tutor who tooted the flute tried to tutor two tooters to toot, said the two to the tutor is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot?”

Young children should start practicing tongue twisters as soon as they learn to speak. Easy combinations for kids include saying “yellow leather” and the old standby, “She sells seashells by the sea shore. “ My high school English teacher, Ms. Ruth Esther Manning Jones, made us say, “How now brown cow” to help us get rid of that nasal Texas twang. Saying this helps to round out flat words.

Repeating tongue twisters can make you sound silly but can also make you laugh out loud—something that can help to distress your life and ease tension. It can also defuse a situation when anger management issues can lead to conflict. Try these tongue twisters just for fun.

“Reno is a great town for recreation. Racketball, roulette, rugby, and rodeo are remembered as high-rated activities.”

Lulu Lovelace lived in the lighthouse in Lexington. Lulu’s eleven children liked to help her and never failed to tell her how lovely she looked in her lighthouse-keeper’s clothes.”

“Three gray geese were grazing in the green grass. Giddy from the great glee of grazing so greedily, their eyes became glazed and glassy.”

“Betty Batter bought a bit of butter. “But, she said, “this butter’s bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of bitter butter will make my batter better. So Betty Batter bought a bit of bitter butter and it made her batter better.”

Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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