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"How to Master Advanced English Vocabulary" by Prof. Kev Nair.

Tips on English Usage from Prof. Kev Nair.

For daily inspirational quotes on the Bhagavad Gita from Prof. Kev Nair, click www.justwakeup.com/ bhagavad-gita-quotes.asp or Prof Kev Nair's twitter page

Fluentzy.com > English > Book S4: Fluency Building & Mouth Gymnastics
Book S4: Fluency Building & Mouth Gymnastics

Fluency Building & Mouth Gymnastics

Fluency Building & Mouth Gymnastics
By Prof. Kev Nair

"Fluency Buidling & Mouth Gymnastics deals with skill-building techniques that can really get your organs of speech to overcome the pressures of the English language on them. "
The New Indian Express.

Please note: This book is not sold separately. It is available for sale only as part of Fluentzy: The English Fluency Encyclopedia.

Sample pages from this book
Sample Pages
from the
Fluentzy Book Set
B1: Idea units & Fluency
B2: Speech Generation & Flow Production
B3: Teaching your Tongue & Speech Rhythm
B4: Key Speech-initiators & Speech-unit Patterns
S1: Fluency in Functional English (Vol.1)
S2: Fluency in Functional English (Vol.2)
S3: Fluency in Telephone English and Sectoral English
B5: How to Deal with Hesitation
B6: Oral Training in Fluency Vocabulary (Vol.1)
B7: Packing of Information in Speech
B8: Impromptu Speech-flow Techniques.
S4: Fluency Building and Mouth Gymnastics
S5: Fluency in speaking about people
B9: Fluency in Asking Questions
B10: Oral Training in Fluency Vocabulary (Vol.2)
B11: Fluency & Moment-to-Moment Speech-production
B12: Oral Training in Fluency Vocabulary (Vol.3)
S6: Fluency in Topicwise English (Vol.1)
S7: Fluency & Pronunciation
S8: Fluency in Topicwise English (Vol.2)

English Fluency Lexicons by
Prof. Kev Nair
The Complete Fluency Words
A Dictionary of
Fluency Word Clusters

A Dictionary of
Essential Fluency Phrases

A Dictionary of
Active Fluency Combinations

Comprehensive Adjectival Fluency Dictionary
Prof. Kev Nair's Narrative Fluency Dictionary Narrative Fluency Dictionary
Core Fluency Thesaurus
of Phrasal Verbs

of Descriptive English


Fluency through mouth gymnastics

All non-native speakers of English face a major problem when they try to speak fluent English.

You see, every language requires your organs of speech to work in certain ways in order to produce the sounds and sequences of sounds in that language. Your mother-tongue is no exception. And mind you, you’ve been using your organs of speech and producing the sounds and sequences of sounds in your mother-tongue since you were a child. From such a long experience, your organs of speech have got into certain habits. And they now have certain set ways of moving and working: These are habits that suit mostly your mother-tongue, and not English.

Now many of the sounds and most of the sequences of sounds in the English language have features that are different from those of the sounds and sequences of sounds in your mother tongue. And so the English language requires your organs of speech to move and work in a different set of ways.

But because your organs of speech tend to move and work in certain set patterns, they resist and fight shy of moving and working in the new ways that the English language requires them to work. And when you speak, they move in ‘non-English’ ways. This causes you to stumble on some English sounds at several places, and on most English sound sequences at most places.

Past experience handicaps advanced non-native learners

For advanced non-native learners of English, there’s another difficulty: They know English reasonably well or quite well. But you see, they’ve been speaking non-fluent or semi-fluent English for some years. This experience is actually a liability, and not something helpful. The reason is this: From the experience they’ve had in speaking non-fluent or broken English, their organs of speech have acquired the habit of working in “wrong” ways — because in order to speak non-fluent English they’ve been using their organs of speech to work in non-English ways, that is, in the patterns set by their mother-tongue. So if they want to achieve true fluency, they’ll first have to get their organs of speech to break these “wrong” habits, and then re-educate them in the “right” habits suited to the fluent production of English speech.

So remember this: If you want to become fluent in spoken English, you should train your organs of speech to move and work in the way that the English language requires them to move and work — so that they stop moving and working in ‘wrong’ ways, and start moving and working in ‘right’ ways while you’re speaking English.

Now don’t get me wrong: All this doesn’t mean that, from now on, your organs of speech must stop working altogether in the way your mother-tongue or any other language requires them to work. No. What I mean is this: When you speak English, your organs of speech must work in the way the English language requires them to work, and not in the way your mother-tongue requires them to work. And when you speak your mother-tongue, your organs of speech must work in the way your mother-tongue requires them to work, and not in any other way.

Mouth gymnastics
Now how can you get your organs of speech to get used to working in the new ways that the English language requires them to work? The only effective way is this: Train them. Train them in moving, bending and working in patterns that they’re not used to. You can do this by uttering aloud a “sufficient” quantity of specially selected word groups a “sufficient” number of times. These word groups must be those that are capable of exercising all the organs of speech in the new ways.

You see, this sort of training develops the strength, co-ordination and agility of your organs of speech and increases their muscular dexterity. We’ll call this sort of training ‘mouth gymnastics’.

Ineffective methods
There’s a traditional method that can train your organs of speech. But this method won’t help you achieve fluency. This method is to get the learners to train with what are known as ‘tongue-twisters’ or sentences that are difficult to say. Here are a few such tongue-twisters:

• Lots of hot coffee in a proper copper coffee-pot.
• Six thin thistle sticks.
• A pinch of paprika pepper popped in a paper poke.
• Two toads totally tired of trying to trot to Tetbury.

This method is often used in English-speaking countries to train professionals like drama actors and actresses who are already fluent in English, but who have to produce and imitate different types of sounds and sequences of sounds other than their own genuine sounds. This method is not suitable to train the organs of speech of people who are trying to achieve fluency. You see, even native speakers of English who are quite fluent in speech find it difficult to say these tongue-twisters easily without special training. So remember this: What you need is not training with tongue-twisters, because that kind of training won’t help you achieve fluency.

There’s also a variation of the tongue-twister training. This is to keep uttering aloud poems or nonsense word groups overstuffed with a particular sound or sequences of sounds. This method is also employed to train drama actors and actresses. Often, this method is adopted in English-speaking countries to train children in nursery schools in the basic sounds of English. Here are two such traditional poems:

• Round and round the rugged rocks
The ragged rascals ran their rural races.

• Betty Botter bought some butter,
But, she said the butter’s bitter;
If I put in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
So she bought a bit of butter
Better than her bitter butter,
And she put it in her batter,
And so the batter wasn’t bitter.

• Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper;
A peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper,
Where’s the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?

But understand this: Even this method is not suitable for adult fluency trainees, because the skill of making the basic English sounds with perfection won’t make you fluent in speech. First of all, what you need is not just the skill of making the basic sounds in isolation, but the skill of making sequences of those sounds — that is, the basic sounds in a variety of combinations. Secondly, it’s even not enough that you gain the skill of making sequences of the basic sounds. What you need is the skill of making sequences of those sounds as they occur in the word groups used in normal speech. And the word groups used in normal speech are of a kind totally different from the poems, nursery rhymes and nonsense word groups overstuffed with one or two basic sounds.

Fluency in “wrong” usages is a handicap
There’s another reason why the mouth gymnastics that non-native speakers do must be with everyday word groups, and not with tongue twisters or nonsense word groups or poems and nursery rhymes overstuffed with one or two specific sounds.

We’ve already seen that advanced non-native learners have an added difficulty, because their organs of speech have acquired fluency in working in the ‘wrong’ ways. Now advanced non-native learners face yet another difficulty. As they have the experience of speaking English for a few years, the chances are that they’ve acquired fluency in wrong and inappropriate usages — usages that do not occur in genuine, natural, native English. If they want to achieve fluency in genuine English, they’ll have to break these wrong habits, too — and they’ll have to pick up native speaker-like habits.

Training with specially selected everyday word groups would help you get over all these difficulties at one stroke.

So what I’m going to do in this Lesson is to give you collections of everyday word groups. These word groups are not random ones and have not been put together in a random way. No. They’re specially selected word groups. You see, each collection has been put together in such a way as to give most training to a particular organ of speech. This training helps that organ to stop being clumsy, stiff and awkward while producing English sound sequences and to start producing them smoothly and with suppleness — in co-ordination with other organs of speech. Each collection focuses attention on a particular organ of speech — that is, on the way it works together with one or more other organs in order to produce connected speech. And you’ll not find them overstuffed with any particular sound to an extent that is artificial. You see, in natural speech, there’s always a certain interval between the occurrences of the same sound or the same sequence of sounds within a word group uttered as a single unit.

Word classes for mouth gymnastics
You’ll find the collections of word groups you’re going to get categorized into three major classes:

1). Throat class. 2). Mouth class. 3). Nasal class.

And you’ll find the word groups under each class grouped organwise as follows:

1). Throat class.

(i) Larynx group. (ii) Pharynx group. (iii) Velar group.

2). Mouth class.

(i) Tongue group. (ii) Dental group. (iii) Alveolar group. (iv) Hard palate group. (v) Velar-proper group. (vi) Lip group.

3). Nasal class.

Knowledge of organs of speech
Strictly speaking, it’s not necessary for you to understand why I’ve called a particular group of words a ‘larynx group’, ‘alveolar group’, etc. Nor is it essential to find out what a larynx or pharynx is. All that you need to do is to train your organs of speech with the word groups given under each head. This is because it’s from this practice that the organs become supple and you get control over them and become able to move them and bend them and make them work the way English language wants them to move, bend and work.

But experience has shown one thing: If you’re a serious fluency trainee, you’ll find it helpful to have at least a general idea of what your organs of speech are, and what roles they play in forming speech sounds. This understanding helps you have a clear idea of how one English sound differs in quality from another. And this awareness would keep working inside you and would help you pronounce English better.


End of sample content




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