Need help saying certain words clearly? Here are some English tongue twisters for international public speakers.
Clarity is important when public speaking. However, as international public speakers know well, clear pronunciations can be difficult when speaking English as a second language. Slowly practicing tongue twisters, while emphasising correct articulation, can help. This is also a great way to soften your accent.
Below are a couple of classics to warm-up. Say each sentence out-loud three times:
- The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.
- Peter Piker picked a peck of pickled peppers.
I was recently asked for tongue twisters specifically to soften a Finnish accent. She was having trouble pronouncing d, g, z, and b. So, this blog is for you, Ilona!
Let’s start with d and g:
- Davenport, the dog, did his deed delicately.
- Doctor Darren dug down deep.
- Does the Dewdrop Inn have double mint bubble gum?
- Good girls get up and get going.
- Gary and Gerry go to the giant go-cart.
- Ghost gorillas gallop on gargantuan granddaddy giraffes.
It can be helpful to contrast similar sounds like z, s and sh:
- Zella zips up her shoe zipper at the zoo watching zebras.
- Ziggy saw snakes slithering at the zoo.
- She sells sea shells at the sea shore.
Here are some more for b:
- Bob’s black and blue bruise became blacker and bluer before bleeding.
- The baby boy beat his big brother Bob at basketball.
- Billy Bobby is the boy of the bell Belinda.
To make a b sound, slightly roll your lips around your teeth when you press them together. This contrasts the p sound, where the lips are pressed together without rolling them around the teeth.
Do you have problems with different sounds? Feel free to invent your own silly sentences to practice those troubling sounds. Remember, always practice out-loud! And, if you’re a French speaker, check out these 20 tongue twisters. And, check-out this blog for English Public Speaking Skills for Non-Native Speakers.
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Kimberly VanLandingham is the CEO of European Market Link Sàrl, the owner of Presentation Training Switzerland.com. She has a 20 years of corporate experience, including TV and radio as a product spokesperson and business leader. In 2011, she left DuPont de Nemours to offer training in public speaking, media, and cross-cultural communication to international business leaders and technical teams. She has a Masters in cross-cultural communication and a BS in engineering.