ARTICULATION AND CLARITY
The more you engage the muscles of articulation – the tongue and the lips – the clearer the speech. The consonants usually convey the intellectual content of speech - to engage with them is to engage with the mind of the listener.
Top Tip: Emphasize the word endings.
In spoken English, the clearer you articulate the consonant at the end of the word – if there is one – the clearer the speech becomes. This is particularly important in public speech. It’s the T that shuts shuT. It’s the P that stops stoP.
WARNING: Do not over-articulate all consonants, but remember those at the end of a word.
Exercises: Warm up your muscles of speech
Before speaking professionally get the muscles warmed up. By doing so, the rest of the face musculature also gets ready, making it easier for you to convey thought.
Do this by;
Gently screwing the face around, feeling as if you are separating the muscle from the skull.
Repeatedly curling the upper, and then the lower lips.
Blow through the lips with lots of air making a sound like a horse.
Blow through the lips with vibration - like when a child plays with toy cars – going up and down in pitch.
Tongue work out for clearer speech:
- Suck the roof of the mouth - hard - as if you have a toffee stuck there.
- Place the tongue-tip behind the lower front teeth, open the jaw and let the middle tongue buck forward; then release right back as if you are saying AAH. Repeat.
- Use your tongue to go all round your teeth “cleaning” them – really get in to those nooks and crannies.
Exercise: The Tongue Hold
This exercise enables development of the lip muscles and brings the sound forward in the mouth.
Join the dots, as illustrated.
Gently keep the dots in contact, as you say the days of the week, and then the months of the year.
Repeat exercise twice. Remember to exercise the lips and relax the jaw.
Now release and say the days of the week as normal. The words should sound clearer.
Top Tip: Bring the sound forward and out
English is focused towards the front of the mouth, on the bone behind the upper front teeth. Having the lips shape your thoughts and keeping the jaw relaxed, enables the sound to be amplified before it leaves the mouth.