Meet your new best friend: your mouth!
Let’s get to know your mouth and all of the parts which need to work together. If spoken English was a battle, how could you win without mastering the use of your weapons? Let’s do some “ice breaking” activities to get more familiar with the parts of your mouth. That way, we can refer to them in the following sound descriptors.
First, let’s identify the parts which we’ll use and refer to throughout this course:
1 = Lips “Upper lip” “Lower lip”
2 = Teeth “Upper teeth” “Lower teeth”
3 = Front palate “front-mouth”
4 = Pharyngeal flap “Flap”
5 = Tip of the tongue
6 = Sides of the tongue
7 = Vocal fold “Fold”
1. Get familiar with your lips and loosen them up. If your lips are thicker than others, pull them with your fingers. Suck them into your mouth. Push them out with your tongue. Make a fish face! They might feel a little sore. Do these warm-ups for 1 minute.
2. Your teeth are boney, but you can still warm them up. Get a mouthful of water and push it out through your teeth. Bite your tongue a little bit.
3. Feel your palate (upper mouth) with your tongue. It should feel like the surface of the moon! Make clucking noises, like a chicken. Feel where the palate ends and the upper teeth begin. Can you vibrate your tongue against it? (Say carretera in Spanish, meaning “highway”)
4. Do you snore at night? Snore loudly and proudly! Wake up your sleepy classmate! Breathe in…. breathe out. S4 teachers love to hear their students snoring. Now breathe in through your nose. Stop it! Then, keep breathing again. Try to move it without air now, if you can. It should make a slapping noise. Slap, slap, slap! This is the difference between an open flap and closed flap.
5. Stick your tongue out as far as possible. It’s not rude! Point it at the ceiling… and now the floor. Poke your teeth with it. Who has the longest tongue in the class? Can you touch your nose with it?
6. Make a U with your tongue. See the sides? Cover all of your upper teeth with your tongue. Now, just slide the sides of your tongue against your upper teeth.
7. Touch your throat with your fingers. Sigh and breathe out. The fold will not move. Now, sing a little. “ahhh!” It’s vibrating! This is the difference between unvoiced and voiced.
Are you an accent trainer? Please let us know what you think about the Mouth Playground!