Have you heard? The tongue is a muscle!
Okay, you probably have heard me say this before, a few hundred times. I like to remind you of this because I think it’s important to remember that learning language is in the body as much as it’s in the mind.
So let’s spend some time getting to know the muscle that’s going to help you achieve your language goals. Let’s pick up our mental barbells and get to stretching our tongue.
- Close your eyes and think of the different areas of your tongue. Visualize zones on your tongue- I use overlapping circles in my mind. Where is the front, middle, back?
- Stretch out your tongue- as far out of your mouth it can go, then curl it back as far into your mouth it can go? How far back can you touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue? What does that spot feel like?
- “Lick” the entire inside of your mouth. Feel how different the different areas of your gums feel. Hard to soft, ridges and bumps. When you’re speaking your first language, slow down and feel how your tongue moves against certain spots. You can use those spots as reference points when practicing another language.
- “Bite” your tongue. Make your tongue as wide as possible in your mouth so that when you bite, a small side section is stuck between your teeth. How do you describe these sections?
So what’s the point of these funny exercises?
We use our mouth pretty unconsciously in our first language. Our tongue moves so quickly from spot-to-spot that we barely realize what those movements are. When we spend time consciously thinking about those movements, it becomes easier to train ourselves to make a new movement for a new sound.
Get to know your mouth. It’s the most important tool in your language learning journey. The more familiar you are with your mouth and the easier you can manipulate your tongue, the faster your language goal will happen.
If you’d like some help getting to know the mouth and how to make English sounds better, I’d love to be there for you. Check out my courses or just sign up for the Pronunciation Habit newsletter where you’ll get weekly pronunciation practice techniques. Plus, exclusive special offers.
And if you found this post helpful, feel free to post it around. We can all use all the help we can get with our goals.
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