July 25, 2024


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How Different Languages Use Different Facial Muscles

How Different Languages Use Different Facial Muscles

What a Workout!

Ever notice that your face may feel different depending on what language you are speaking?Just as voicing multiple characters in quick succession can be challenging, switching from one language to another can also pose interesting muscular challenges. Does this happen to you?

Professional singers often have a repertoire of music with lyrics in a number of languages ranging from the Romance languages through Germanic tongues.

Aside from some obvious differences in diction and phrasing, singing in different languages is a physical process that takes into account the shaping of vowels, emphasis on consonants and any glottal stops along the way.

Native English speakers often find that singing in the Romance languages is the least demanding on facial muscles, while singing in German feels like an altogether different experience, affecting facial musculature in more demanding ways.

Your facial musculature includes everything from your jaw to your tongue. There are also other elements to consider when speaking such as where your tongue touches your teeth or which palate you are employing when shaping vowels in conjunction with your tongue. There is more at work when you speak than meets the eye.

Your muscles carry memories and know what to do when you see a word. You may have noticed that not only do your muscles have memory but you can also have breath memory. This is particularly true if you remember where you need to breathe from to set up a phrase or if you have perfected a song.