The Tongue Twister Game – from its origin to its purpose

Tongue twister spawns joy and ecstasy among people of all ages that take part in it and even to those who are just watching others take a shot at the word sport. They act as a speech development tool that aids to progress our spoken language skills by enriching our lexis and intonation ability. Besides that, tongue twisters are a great way to have fun and stay connected with our kids. Wondering what ‘tongue twisters’ are? Keep reading to discover!

What is a tongue twister?

Tongue twisters are specific sequence of words or alliterations that are designed to be arduous to articulate at a quick pace even for the native speakers who are well versed with the language. Remember those times? When as children we used to challenge our friends with difficult phrases and ask them to try repeating those phrases five or ten times as fast as they can? Those tricky phrases are precisely what are called as tongue twisters. They are used as an education sport or diction exercise to facilitate the kids to learn to speak or enunciate clearly.

The origin of the enunciation game

Some historians claim that the mind behind the game was none other than parents of children that were finding it hard to pronounce or speak the language. But there are no concrete citations as to how and when the word game was discovered. However, it was in the year 1895 that the name tongue twisters was first coined and used to address these sorts of difficult to repeat sequence of words. This word game was very popular during the 19th century. One of the most renowned tongue twisters of all time is ‘She sells sea shells on the sea shore’ which was originally published in the year 1850.

The purpose of tongue twisters

As already stated tongue twisters are chiefly used for two purposes:

As a speech development tool or diction exercise to train kids that find it hard to enounce words or to beginners who are just getting started to learn a new language.

As a source of entertainment which assists in bond building between parents and kids.

Tongue twisters as speech development tool or diction exercise

The words we speak passes through three key stages to sound the way they sound, no matter how many times we voice them. The three key stages are initiation – where vocal track sets the air in movement, phonation – modification of airflow when it goes through larynx for producing sound, and articulation – the way the oral muscles are formed to create desired types of sounds.

The task of tongue twisters is to aid in articulation. When the tricky words are repeated at fast pace it stretches the tongue in all possible ways and aligns the brain and tongue coordination. This exercise in turn shapes the muscles of the tongue ensuring that the kid or a new learner of the language pronounces the words clearly.

Tongue twisters as an entertainment

Yes, tongue twisters are meant to be fun. All the mispronounced words will be humorous on their own ways. So try out a tongue twister today along with your kid. Uttering them aloud with your kid could pave way to special and memorable moments of your lifetime.