Do you find yourself stumbling over your words when trying to tackle a tongue twister? Do you find yourself staring at the next KAMBA card and gulping ? Well, don't worry, you're not alone! Many individuals, even those who are otherwise proficient in the language, find tongue twisters to be challenging. But why is that?
According to linguists and speech pathologists, some people may struggle with tongue twisters due to several factors such as phonological awareness and fine motor skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and identify individual sounds within speech. Fine motor skills refer to the coordination of the muscles involved in speech, such as the tongue and lips.
When it comes to tongue twisters, it requires a fine balance of these skills. The chosen words may introduce new sound combinations, making it difficult to distinguish between them. In addition, the pace and rhythm of tongue twisters are just as essential as the actual words. Therefore, people who may have less developed phonological awareness or poor fine motor skills may find it difficult to keep up with the pace, causing stutters, and leading to both frustration and laughter.
While some may think that the solution is to practice tonguing phrases, in some cases, speech therapy may help improve phonological awareness and fine motor skills. Speech therapy can use a variety of techniques like slowing down the pace of articulation, breaking down words into smaller segments, introducing new sound contrasts, and most importantly, working on motor planning and strength of the speech organs involved in tongue twisters.
However, for those who enjoy the challenge and want to improve their tongue-twisting skills, here are some tips to help get you started:
• Start slow and work your way up: Begin with simple tongue twisters gradually building up the complexity over time. Don’t feel discouraged, as practice makes perfect.
• Use your hands: Try using hand movements or gestures to help coordinate mouth movements and make the sounds of the tongue twister.
• Take a breath: Taking deep relaxing breaths before speaking the tongue twister can assist in reducing anxiety and tension which may improve the delivery. (A top KAMBA tactic!).
Now it’s time for a challenging twist on the tongue twister. Try saying "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris?" really fast, in one go - a tricky one, we think!
So tongue twisters are fun and challenging exercises. They help us improve our pronunciation skills and motor planning abilities. While some may find them challenging, with the right techniques, everyone can practice and improve their tongue twister skills, unlocking better communication abilities over time. And of course, there's even a great party game (available on this very site) to make tongue twisters the funnest of fun activities.