Are You Tongue-Tied? Loosen Up With These Exercises

twisterAh, don't you just love the wacky humor of "The Argyle Sweater" by Scott Hilburn?  It's one of my favorites. I never miss a day of its world of bizarrerie.  And what an honor to appear in it. Well, at least ,my name, Jerry, does.  And the caption is spot on for me and, I imagine, for  a whole bunch of other people. Tongue twisters have always been my nemesis. And a lot of guilty  fun too.

Who hasn't tried to enunciate "She sells seashells" and a few other classics? When I was teaching,  a colleague of mine was proud that he could negotiate the phonetic hazards of:  "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" That's the great  thing about a tongue twister. If you say it impeccably, you have a sense of accomplishment. As John Coates says, in a different context, in his wonderful book 'The Hour Between Dog and Wolf'---"dopamine is released along what are called the pleasure pathways of the brain, providing us with a rewarding, even euphoric, experience."

For tongue twister aficionados, it's almost addictive.  Each of us is partial to a precious few.  I used to subject my students to this one: "Round and round the rugged rock, the ragged rascal ran."  'Rugged' and 'ragged' always got transposed by the unwary.

My wife and I recently enjoyed a performance of "Singing in the Rain" at the Drury Lane in Oak Brook. Trust me. We were there. In the second row, per usual. We dutifully wore our plastic  ponchos while Tony Yazbeck  did a dazzling Gene Kelly impression.   A few numbers earlier Yazbeck joined Matthew Crowle  in the delightful   novelty song-cum-tongue twister: "Moses supposes his toeses are roses/ But Moses supposes erroneously/For Moses, he knowes his toeses aren't roses/ As Moses supposes his toeses to be."

Speaking of tongue twister songs, how about one from 'Going My Way'?  Remember the one Father O'Malley(Bing Crosby) sang to Father Fitzgibbon(Barry Fitzgerald)?  Tooralooralooral.

I did a little research and found some more gems.   Actors  tune up   with this word from Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost' : honorificabilitudinitatibus.   Or try holding your tongue and saying "I was born on a pirate ship".

Someone allegedly said this in a Japanese restaurant: "So this is the sushi chef?"

I'm partial to another tongue twister, a limerick , because it contains my wife's maiden name. "There was a fisherman named Fisher/Who fished for some fish in a fissure./Till a fish with a grin/Pulled the fisherman in./Now they're fishing the fissure for Fisher."

Or for those alcoholically inclined: "She sits on her slip and sips Schlitz."  But I wouldn't try this one if you've had one too many: "I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch."

Let me end where I began.  The following tongue twisters will help you recall where that was: "Argyle Gargoyle"..."Sweater weather, leather weather".





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  • I slit a sheet/a sheet I slit/upon this slitted sheet I sit.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    No sheet.

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