English Student Lengthens Tongue to Speak Korean Better
Although a rose by any other name is and always will be still a rose, learning how to to say the word, rose in other languages can be difficult.
One student of the Korean language, Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones of Beeston, Nottingham, England, was having so much trouble pronouncing some crucial sounds that she went to an amazing extreme.
She had her tongue surgically lengthened to improve her ability to speak the language that represents the culture of her unusual obsession.
“I’d been learning Korean for about two years, and my speaking level is now high, but I was really struggling with particular sounds,” said Rhiannon, who dreams of living and working in South Korea once she finishes school, even though she has never visited.
Rhiannon was born with an unusually thick flap of skin that joins the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The condition is sometimes referred to as “tongue tie.”
According to her dentist, this is why her tongue is slightly shorter than average.
Although her English pronunciation was never problematic, she decided after lengthy discussions with both her parents and language teacher to undergo a surgical procedure known as a lingual frenectomy to correct the condition.
The 20-minute operation was carried out at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Center under local anesthetic and involved making an incision in the flap of skin.
Her tongue is now about one centimeter longer, and she can say words that were impossible before.
Rhiannon is currently awaiting test results, and hoping to embark on the field of Korean Studies and Business Management at the University of Sheffield.
The scholastic program is four years in duration and includes a year at Yonsei University in the South Korean capital, Seoul.
“Some might say it’s extreme, but you could apply the same argument to plastic surgery,” said Rhiannon.
She has a point, and one can only suppose that a tongue by any other name….