Resistance to Teach Tongue-Back Elevation

By Pam Marshalla

tongue-depressorsQ: My student substitutes T/K and D/G. As per suggestions on your website, I am facilitating posterior tongue elevation by using a tongue depressor and having the student push against it with the posterior part of the tongue. I have been able to elicit H but not K or G. Is H the sound you refer to as a velar fricative? I need help with this method.

Let me straighten this up first-

  • H is a glottal fricative and not a velar fricative.
  • A velar fricative is a fricative produced with the back of the tongue pushed up against the velum, i.e., lingua-alveolar.
  • A velar fricative is a non-English fricative. Try it yourself.

The point of the resistance technique is to teach the client to elevate the back of the tongue up to the velum. If you are getting /h/, then the client simply is not pushing up high enough. She has to push the back of the tongue up further and further until she pushes the tongue depressor up against the palate.

  1. Have her practice this pushing action several times.
  2. Then have her do it without the stick.
  3. Once she can push the back of the tongue up far enough to touch the velar area without the stick, have her exhale gently. Something like a fricated /k/ should be heard.
  4. Then tell her to push up harder to stop the airflow all together.  This turns it into a stop.

Also make sure you are telling her exactly what is going on in terms she can understand.

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