Accent Reduction Tongue Twisters

Many of our clients at Accent Pros, who are interested in learning accent reduction techniques and how to speak with an American accent, have advanced degrees and have excellent command of the English language. Given the evolving state of the English language; however, they may not understand informal slang and phrases that are regularly used in the workplace, and on various popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally our accent reduction clients will understand the meaning of an idiom, but use it in an improper context, which could potentially have embarrassing consequences. In our continuing efforts to  feature only the most relevant and practical terms when helping you achieve accent reduction goals, here are three tongue twisters to help hone your pronunciation skills.

Accent Reduction Tongue Twister 1: How many boards could the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?

Definition: This is an interesting tongue twister which also acts as a riddle and would be good for younger language learners. It can be used as an exercise for the medial vowel sound “o” and for the purpose of practicing interrogative sentence intonation as well. It serves as a multipurpose tongue twister which breaks the ice and sharpens the speaking and intonation skills of the accent reduction learner.

accent reductionExample: How many boards could the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?

Origin: This tongue twister comes from a popular comic strip called Calvin and Hobbes where a smart youngster named Calvin has an imaginary tiger friend named Hobbes. Calvin was writing down this question which also functions as a tongue twister in the strip. This was published on April 9, 1993 and is one of the most noted comic strips of the duo.

Accent Reduction Tongue Twister 2: You cuss, I cuss, we all cuss for asparagus.

Definition: A tongue twister which is great for adults, this exercise can be used for practicing the voiceless final “s” sound. It can be particularly useful for individuals who have a lisp or those who have particular difficulty in pronouncing the “s” sound. Because of the use of the word “cuss,” it would be ideal to use this as a fun tongue twister for older learners.

Example: You cuss, I cuss, we all cuss for asparagus (Repeat 5 times, quickly).

Origin: This tongue twister originates from the popular single-panel comic strip made by Gary Larson which was in publication from 1980 to 1995. The Far Side is a known adult comic strip which presents a single situation with an often funny undertone that adults would enjoy. This tongue twister in particular was an example of a failed marketing ploy in the comic, and may be of great interest especially for learners who are in the marketing industry as well. accent reduction

Accent Reduction Tongue Twister 3: Systematically assisting Sisyphus’s stealthy cyst-susceptible sister

Definition : Ideal for practicing the “s” sound in the initial, medial, and final syllable, this fun tongue twister may serve as an excellent exercise for individuals who have a lisp or accent reduction learns who are challenged with the “s” sound. Because of the rather difficult words used, this would be ideal for older learners who need more exercise on their “s” sounds. It can be made more challenging for older learners by having them memorize the tongue twister and pronounce it quickly without looking at it.

accent reductionExample: Systematically assisting Sisyphus’s stealthy cyst-susceptible sister (Pronounce 5 times fast without looking at the copy).

Origin: This tongue twister comes from one of the books in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” written by Lemony Snicket. It is part of the line “Just about everything in this world is easier said than done, with the exception of systematically assisting Sisyphus’s stealthy, cyst-susceptible sister, which is easier done than said.” This is an excerpt from “The Hostile Hospital,” the eighth out of thirteen books in the series.

Accent Reduction: Want to Learn More?

 Accent Pros has a continuing series on accent reduction tips, including common English phrases and American idioms.  Be sure to check out other blog posts to find your favorites.  Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening?  Check out our on-line accent reduction courses  available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other accent reduction tips. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter