That illusive S

Simon the silly squirrel sat selling seal skin. 

The s sound is one of the laziest. We use is a ton, it's included in a good number of the words that we use everyday. Because of that, it doesn't always get the love it should. Practice a few 's' warm ups to keep it sharp and ready for action. 

Intonation Practice

Here's one of my favorites for working with intonation. Knowing where to put the emphasis and how to use the language you choose can really have a huge impact on your speech presentation. That's why this week is about emphasis. See if you can read the following sentence so that it makes sense: 

"If two witches watched two watches, which witch would watch which watch?"

Now do it 3 times in a row, altering your intonation each time. 

The 'nee' versus 'nuh'

Often when these two sounds are in the same sentence they can get a little muddied. The parts of the tongue that create these sounds are not used to being used in succession a great deal, so it's a great one to practice. 

Know Ned nightly kneads his knuckles. When Ned kneads his knuckles nightly, he knows nothing about nice niches nuzzling Ned's nervous knuckle kneading habit. 

The 's' and 'sh' sounds

These are sounds that often lose clarity in speeches - especially when they are close together and a speaker might be going a tad quicker than they should. Here's a warm-up to help with that: 

Sally, the sea shell seller, sells sea shells down by the seashore. If Sally, the sea shell seller, sells sea shells down by the seashore, how many shells does Sally, the sea shell seller, sell? 

This one can be really tricky for those who aren't practicing this area of articulation. There is a lot of competing sounds, and the switching between the 's' and 'sh' sounds easily just come with practice. The jaw is a muscle too, and that muscle memory is as important for articulation as it is for typing or writing. 

The 'puh' Sound

I know it seems odd, but sometimes the oldies really are the goodies. 

Peter Piper, the pickled pepper picker, picked a pack of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper, the pickled pepper picker, picked a pack of pickled peppers, then where is the pack of pickled peppers Peter Piper, the pickled pepper picker picked? 

This sound and this exercise is all about lip movement, strengthening, and waking up muscles that aren't used a great deal. This is a good once a week exercise, to keep those parts of your mouth and tongue feeling sharp and ready to roll. 

Week of May 22nd

This week we are staying traditional. (Next week we will begin getting into sound-specific exercises). Adding this warm-up to your routine helps to warm up all those muscles and get them ready for the day. 

Red Leather. Yellow Leather. Lavender Leather. 

Combining this one with the warm-ups from the last two weeks makes a nice, quick routine in the mornings. These three together would be about a 3 minute warm-up, perfect for the every day start up. 

Week of May 15th

This week's warm up goes really well with last week's. 

Chrysanthemum. Geranium. 

Combining the two, doing both three times each, means that you've used the bulk of the muscles in your mouth and jaw, and in fact, making these combinations of sounds means that you have now warmed up all the speaking muscles in your mouth and jaw. 

Week of May 8th

We've decided to begin a weekly tongue teaser! We know that prepping and keeping your enunciation and practices fresh are the key to wanting to continue to do them week after week. So, we're here to hopefully help with that a bit.

This week we're beginning with one of our favorites. This was one that I used to practice with when I competed, oh, let's just say a couple years ago ;)

Cinnamon. Aluminum. Linoleum. Petroleum.

This is a good one because it warms up almost all the muscles in your mouth and jaw, and gets them ready for the day. It's good to do this one even on a non-competition day, to just get you ready for the talking ahead. Think of it in the same way as getting out of bed in the morning and stretching your arms above your head. It just gets everything moving, and starts you on your way.   

Say it 3 times. Ennunciating the words every time.