Head devices for better enunciation?
March 9, 2008 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I hear that trainee actors sometimes use head-mounted contraptions to build up their tongue strength, for better enunciation. One was a small ball on a string. Is this true? What are these devices?
posted by long haired lover from liverpool to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I can't tell you about those contraptions, but when I was in high school debate, we practiced speed reading while holding a pen with our lips to build enunciation (like this girl, except holding it with our lips not teeth). Does build some weird mouth strength.
posted by salvia at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2008

Kathleen Turner has said she learned to enunciate by holding two pencils on her back teeth. Of course, if you do that you'll end up sounding like Kathleen Turner which is probably not what you want.
posted by 26.2 at 5:46 PM on March 9, 2008

Actress Kathleen Turner talked about biting down on pencil erasers using your back molars while speaking helped her develop her voice. Here.
posted by JujuB at 5:46 PM on March 9, 2008

In theatre school, our speech teacher endorsed using a cork from a wine bottle. I can't quite remember what we did with the cork, though I recall carrying it around for most of my first year. I think we held it by our lips, while doing tongue/articulation exercises trying not to dislodge it. It was also a measure of how relaxed and open our jaws were as we learned to open up for more resonance/projection. Eventually, the theory was that you should be able to hold the cork in your mouth lengthwise without strain.
posted by typewriter at 6:36 PM on March 9, 2008

Of course, in My Fair Lady, 'Enry 'Iggins recommended marbles.

I find very little advice focusing on physical devices, though -- mostly it's just practice, practice, practice, often using a mirror, and using the right material.

When I search for "ball on a string", I get stuff about pets. When I google "tongue exercises", I get sex and oral cancer.
posted by dhartung at 11:46 PM on March 9, 2008

When I was a kid I went to a speech therapist-- I used all sorts of weird little devices to strengthen the muscles in and around my mouth. I can't find any pictures, but I definitely remember using a device with a little half-ball that you held against the roof of your mouth with your tongue (the curved side up, flat side against your tongue). You'd try to talk while keeping the ball touching the roof of your mouth. There was a string attached to the ball that you held to keep from swallowing it.

This and the other devices looked like they'd been homemade out of everyday office supplies. I have no ideas what they are called, and my Googling is futile, but perhaps the speech/language therapist angle might help you.
posted by holyrood at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2008

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