English Communication Confidence Blog

A Tongue Twister For Your American Accent

Apr 03, 2022

Children of every culture use tongue twisters to have fun while learning the pronunciation of their language. We can also use them to practice the intonation patterns of a language. Check this one out.  


Video Transcript

Hey everybody. It is Jill Diamond. How are you? I know that I owe you a video and I'm so glad to be here today. Lately, I have been talking with my one-on-one clients about gliding.


And it takes a lot of courage. Believe it or not to really hold your voice to really play with the melody. It takes courage. It's a risk because you sound funny. You think I don't really sound like myself. Well, you know who you want to be when you speak English, it's somebody new. Am I right? And so if you wanna be somebody new or you want to feel that confidence, that it takes to sound more native, like, or for people to understand you more easily, this is going to change your life. You have to be able to say long sounds. You need to be comfortable playing with the sound of your voice. And I know that you've all seen me and heard me talk about this many times. Today, I wanna do kind of a combination of something for you. I wanna take a very common tongue twister in English. Something that usually when we do it, we focus on the diction. We focus on the articulation, but I wanna ask you to focus your attention on those long parts of that tongue twister.


Now, how many of you have ever heard the tongue twister...I'll say it for you now: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. Have you heard that before? This is a very, very well-known childhood tongue twister that we do as kids. And it's hard. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. And we try to get people to say it quickly and see if you kind of trip over your words. Now you could try to focus on the /w/ how much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.


You could, most people do. But what if I asked you to focus on the information words that need to be long and that when you make those words long, you put some melody on top of that. So it's going to sound a little strange, but again, this is a practice exercise. Listen to this. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. Let me do it again. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. And even if I just forget about the /w/ sound, I forget about the diction, but I just focus on the shape of the vowels. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood and notice how I'm playing with my hands. I'm playing with my hands to help me stretch. And then I'm adding this melody. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. You try it. And now, listen, I'm just going to say it a couple of times quickly, but the idea is you do it slowly. You get that length. You put the melody on top and then eventually...how much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.


You see, all right, now, check the description. You're going to hear, you're going to see the, the actual, um, the words of this tongue twister. Remember to like, to share, subscribe to my channel and while you're at it, why don't you check out my membership? Or you could even check out my online program and see if you're, if you're ready for my program and you can do many more things, just like this.


All right. Thanks so much for watching. Bye.


Check out these FAQs related to today's post:

Q: Is it true that these types of language exercises strengthen the mind?

A: Yes! Games are amazing for brain health. Any game. That's why language apps like Duolingo for example are so fantastic. They keep us coming back for more because of the fun they provide while they are sharpening our thinking. Tongue twisters are games for the brain, right? So, you get bonuses in your American accent training...you practice the individual phonetics of the language; you add melody; and you strengthen your mind. 

Q. Should I be using this kind of intonation in English when I am at work?

A. Well, I think you know what I am going to say here, don't you? OF COURSE, yes, use this at work. If you listen to any modern-day CEO speak, you'll hear them using vocal variety in three key ways: volume, word length, and pitch change. In fact, there are tons of techniques that leaders use in their public speaking. As you listen to them speak, find the people you really like and then try mimicking them. You may feel funny making intonation shifts like them, but the more you do it, the more you are going to realize that you are connecting with your audience. Intonation works anywhere we want to make a lasting impression in our communication.

Q. I've heard that having a child's mind for learning is a good thing. Do you have other resources to help us learn the intonation of English?

I do! Children's books. I particularly like books that rhyme. You can start with books for toddlers and move your way up from there (There are even children's books for adults. Check out Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go and You're Only Old Once.) When the books rhyme, it is easier for you to find the flow of each phrase and when you start with books written for younger children, you practice simpler sentence types which I think is a great way to apply American pronunciation and feel successful with the application. The key is that you need to read these books out loud AND you need to imagine there is a child listening to you in order for you to speak with the animation necessary to keep their attention. Even as adults, we are all children at heart and the most skilled public speakers know that a bit of drama goes a long way in connecting with others when we communicate. 



Let's Stay Connected!

Subscribe to The English Communication Confidence Blog so that you can be the first to receive unique ways to polish your advanced English.  

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

Take the first step towards your confident communication with just one phone call.


Schedule your call here!