To achieve the low placement of American English, you have to speak with a relaxed body and face. This video helps you release tension in the tongue.
YouTube blocked? Click here to see the video.
In this American English Pronunciation video, we’re going to go over tongue relaxation exercises.
From the L to the R to the T, the tongue is very important when it comes to articulation of all kinds of sounds. So having a relaxed tongue that can move quickly and efficiently is a very good thing. Let’s learn how to relax this very strong muscle.
Just how strong is the tongue? Very! It’s considered the strongest muscle in the body in relation to it’s size. One way to see how strong it is is to put your pinky finger to the roof of your mouth, then pin the pinky finger to the roof of the mouth with the tongue. Like that. Now, have a tongue vs. pinky war. If you’re like me, your tongue wins every time, and your pinky hurts.
So let’s relax this mega-muscle.
First, stick out your tongue (make sure you have clean hands for this), and massage your tongue. Now this may feel weird, but it’s a good way to get to know this muscle that works so hard for us.
>> I’ve never done that before.
>> It’s strange. It’s a strange feeling. But actually, kind of feels good.
Now, stick your tongue out again, and this time, see if you can go from relaxed, to pointed, to relaxed, and back and forth, without tensing the rest of the face. So.
>> Oh, ok.
>> It’s hard to do it without tensing your lips.
>> You can get there eventually. But just to start, just begin exploring that ability.
>> Maybe give them a side-angle of that.
Alright. At first, you may feel like you need to tense the lips and jaw to tense the tongue, but eventually, you’ll be able to isolate the tension to the tongue alone.
Then, keeping the tip of the tongue behind the front teeth, where it stays for almost all vowel sounds, do some tongue push ups, or push outs, to be more accurate.
>> Oh. I’ve never seen that before.
>> So you’ll stick out the middle of the tongue, giving the tongue a good stretch.
>> Wow, you’re really good at that. Did you learn this in acting school?
>> I did.
>> I spent a lot of time doing these exercises in school.
>> Let me try. It’s hard if you’re not used to it.
>> Yeah. It’s a little bit of a strange movement. But again, doing this will help you have a great relationship with all of what’s happening in your mouth, so that when you’re working with a teacher, or when you’re working with yourself, and you learn about where the tongue is supposed to be, it may become easier to do that new movement, or action with your tongue, because you’ve been able to have these exercises.
Now, one way to help yourself it so put your hand in front of your tongue and reach towards your hand. Give yourself a bit of a challenge.
>> Oh wow.
>> Now, I’ll never reach my hand, but it’s something to reach for.
Now, my least favorite exercise, bit a great one for the tongue. We’re going to circle the tongue around the mouth in both directions. Now, imagine that you’ve got peanut butter stuck on your gums, and you’re going to circle the tongue around trying to get the peanut butter out.
>> I kind of like that one.
>> Yeah. Why is that your least favorite?
>> Because when you do it 10 times one way and 10 times the other way, you, your tongue starts to really get sore. So work up to ten times one way, and then switch to ten times the other way. But you can start with 5.
Now, drop your head, relax the tongue out of the mouth, and shake.
>> Oh boy. Do I have to try that?
>> Give it a shot.
>> Ok. I better hold my hair.
>> Perfect. Such relaxation.
Now, you should feel the tongue release all the way in the back of the mouth. And as you do this, some saliva may fly around. And if so, congratulations. You’re doing it perfectly.
Now, let’s practice some articulation with this newly relaxed tongue.
So, that’s using the unvoiced T sound. Now let’s try the voiced D sound.
And you can just feel the very tip of your tongue on the gum ridge there for that nice, light touch. Efficient T and D. Let’s try.
And then, some fun practice. Trumpet players call this “double tonguing”. It’s to articulate the tongue in the front, with the tip of the tongue for the T, and then a K sound with the back.
>> Oh wow. When you do that you just feel your tongue going back and forth.
>> Yeah, it’s really fun.
>> That’s kind of cool.
Alright, nice job. Remember, this is a great way to get to know your tongue, and may be really helpful when it comes to dealing with complicated consonant clusters that involve the tongue in words like: strike, plurals, and twelfth. Those are tough ones.
Some of my students have a hard time moving their tongue without moving their jaw. So, as you do some of these exercises, make sure you do some holding the jaw firm, so that the tongue is moving independently, like this.
You should be able to do it without moving the jaw at all. If you’re having a hard time, try holding on to the jaw lightly to really focus your effort on the tongue.
This video is part of a series on relaxation and placement. If you liked this video, check out the previous one on jaw relaxation, or the next one on lip relaxation. If you have any questions, put them below in the comments section.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.