Tactical Tongue Twisters

Tongue twister rhymes have long been used to help people who suffer from speech impediments. But it can also be used for broader, commercial applications, which are just as useful…

You don’t have to be an eight-year-old child in the playground to enjoy tongue twisters. In fact, they’re fantastic for people who need to lose very strong accents for work reasons, such as those in services industries or roles which require a lot of public speaking or performance.

If you’re someone who tends to chew or muddle your words, or if you have poor elocution – especially if it gets worse when you’re feeling jittery before a public presentation, here’s a few brilliant tongue twisters to loosen your knots and steady your nerves:

  • Six sick slim sycamore saplings
  • A box of biscuits, a batch of mixed biscuits
  • A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk
  • Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistles stick
  • Is this your sister’s sixth zither, sir?
  • A big black bug bit a big black bear, made the big black bear bleed blood
  • The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick
  • Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat
  • Friendly Frank flips fine flapjacks
  • Vincent vowed vengeance very vehemently
  • Cheap ship trip
  • Lovely lemon liniment
  • Tim, the thin twin tinsmith
  • Gertie’s great-grandma grew aghast at Gertie’s grammar
  • Fat frogs flying past fast
  • The boot black bought the black boot back
  • Moose noshing much mush
  • Ruby Rugby’s brother brought and bought her back some rubber baby-buggy bumpers
  • Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better

Try and repeat the above several times. The meaning will be completely lost – but it will help your diction to become pitch perfect.

WordSmith Jo

Poetics in Public Speaking

From De Ronsard, to Hugo and Trotsky, Many Poets through the ages viewed themselves either as political protectors or agitators of the state. These guys weren’t just trying to impress the ladies with a sonnet or two, they viewed their work as catalysts for the betterment of the human condition for all ages; either politically, socially or spiritually.

Use of language, or, the ‘art of rhetoric’ as coined by Aristotle, can convince mothers to send sons to die in foreign wars, or soften the hearts of battle-hardened men to lay down their loads. Such is the power of verse well-ordered, and well-orated.

In an age where our politicians aim for five-second soundbites – think Abbott’s ‘Stop the boats’ stanza or recall our 2pm Question Time in Parliament – Regardless of your political persuasion, one can’t help but feel dismayed at the total lack of linguistic vigour from our bearers of Public Office.

Democratic Politicans are meant to be the voice of the people i.e. Greek – Demos (people) Kratos (rule). Why is it then that when I hear a Pollie use its pipes, I don’t hear my voice, I hear the voice of a cardboard cut-out? Monotone, lifeless, patronising repetition of simple sentences…

It seems to me, that the the modern-day Pollie has swapped poetics for public relations. The irony being that by choosing the latter, the public turn away in apathy and disillusionment.

If you have a public-speaking engagement, pop your PR Manager on a one-way ticket to Poconos and face an audience that wants to be inspired by YOU. This means all of you – your witticisms, your vulnerability and valour, your grit your failures, your triumphs.

You don’t have to rhyme or Def Jam to be a Poet Prince of the Podium – just give the audience what they want – more of the real and less of the spiel.

Till next time, crack a whid!

WordSmith Jo