Language Matters Series with Fehintola Mosadomi
One of the tools for effectively teaching Yoruba language is through the use of tongue twisters, which are short, precise, cultural, quick, and meaningfully loaded. They are not just a sequence of words meant for rapid production. They help learners develop their auditory and verbal skills, and enrich their vocabulary. Speech therapists help children overcome learning difficulties in the area of pronunciation using tongue twisters. In a Yoruba classroom, the teacher becomes a speech therapist by helping learners overcome pronunciation difficulties, which include Yoruba tones and speech sounds. Inability to distinguish between sounds can frustrate a learner and make him/her an object of classroom ridicule. This paper discusses how through tongue twisters, learners of Yoruba language at the beginning level at UT Austin progress in learning perceived difficult sounds like ‘gb’, ‘kp’, and the different tones. Pedagogically, one implication of the use of tongue twisters in class is that teachers can allow their students to turn the tongue twisters into dramatic pieces as UT Austin students of Yoruba did, dramatic pieces which they placed on YouTube!. Learners are fascinated and excited by not only the musicality of tongue twisters but also the speed at which they can be produced. Consequently, teachers can turn the tongue twisters into musically derived speech. Besides, tongue twisters can be provided as free, printable and downloadable teaching/learning materials, using Open Access publishing, which allows teachers and learners to expand and develop further the already published learning materials. Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation worksheets can be developed on tongue twisters.
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