Surprising Benefits of Tongue Twisters
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?
If you have trouble saying this English tongue twister, you’re not alone! It’s hard for native speakers, too.
Tongue twisters are a sequence of words or sounds that are usually alliterative (meaning the first consonant is repeated) and are difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly.
Tongue twisters are funny, but they can also help you with your pronunciation and speaking. They are a type of diction or articulation exercise, which helps you learn to speak clearly.
It’s been found that the brain coordinates its articulation of words according to which muscles it needs to move, so sounds that use the same or similar muscles (as we see in tongue twisters) can confuse the brain.
How To Learn Tongue Twisters
First, here are some tips on using tongue twisters. Start reading the sentence slowly; make sure you pronounce the beginning and end of each word strongly.
Then start saying them faster and faster, but still saying the words as clearly as possible. Try watching yourself in a mirror, too. If you make a mistake, start over.
Benefits of Tongue Twisters
1. They strengthen and stretch the muscles involved in speech
This muscle exercise leads to clearer pronunciation, clearer speech patterns, and helps rectify some of the hardest sounds for you. They’re also just fun, making learning pronunciation – something that can be quite frustrating – more enjoyable.
There are also tongue twister poems you can check out for longer practice and more of a mouth workout. Go to fun-with-words.com or shadowpoetry.com to see some of these poems.
2. They show you which sounds are difficult for you
Depending on your native language and your own strengths and weaknesses, some sounds will be harder for you than others. Tongue twisters can really highlight which sounds you’re struggling with. You may get stuck on the same sound again and again; this is a sign to focus on that sound.
Moreover, you may already be aware of sounds that are challenging for you. For example, speakers of Korean and Japanese tend to have difficulty with the l and r sounds. So, you already know that you should work on these sounds. Try practicing Red lorry, yellow lorry and Red blood, bad blood.
3. They are a great warm up
Even if you’re a native speaker or you’ve mastered English pronunciation, tongue twisters are a great warm-up exercise before you make a presentation, speak in public, teach a class, lead a meeting, act, and more!