Woman Has Tongue Lengthened to Speak Korean Better

Rhiannon Brooksbank–Jones of Beeston, UK, loves the Korean language and plans to study it in college. But she found that some sounds are hard for her to duplicate. So she's taking a surgical solution:

Her parents agreed to her having a lingual frenectomy, a 15–minute operation under local anaesthetic that involved an incision in the flap of skin. Rhiannon admitted that it was "agony at first" but her tongue is now about 1cm longer and she can say words that were impossible before.

"I'd been learning Korean for about two years, and my speaking level was high, but I was really struggling with particular sounds," she said.

"It became apparent after a little while that I was having trouble with the Korean letter 'L', which is very frequent and comes from a slightly higher place in the mouth than the English 'L', and that my tongue was too short.

"The surgical procedure was my only option. My pronunciation was very 'foreign', but now I can speak with a native Korean accent."


Link | Photo: Paul Tonge

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When I had gum surgery a couple years ago, the dr. accidentally nicked my frenulum which resulted in half my lower lip permanently numb. I understand same side effects if tongue piercing is done wrong. Let's not make this a trend, eh?
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I can definitely sympathize. My frenulum is really tight, and makes it difficult to speak Japanese without an American accent. My brother actually had the same operation due to an English speech impediment, and based on his experience I don't think it's at all an unreasonable step to take.
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