By Gabrielle Guichard
>From a certain point of view, ventriloquists are poets: what
matters is not only what they say, but also the way they say
it. To master a foreign language, adopt the ventriloquist's
The main feature you have to master, in order to call yourself
a ventriloquist, is to speak without moving your lips. It is
not that difficult. There is a trick, of course. The sounds M,
B and P make your lips move, as make the sounds V and F but in
a lesser way. So, in order to be a ventriloquist, you should
ban any word with m, b or p inside and avoid to pronounce f-v
words. If your name is Mabel or Patrick, choose a stage name!
Try to say where you come from. Try right now. It is the best
way to understand how it works exactly. "I come from...". No,
your lips are moving. Try again: "I was born in..." Far
You are almost a ventriloquist.
There is a competition of this kind among teachers; for
example: How to express "I have lost my cell phone and my
credit card near the 4WD garage" in Latin. (I agree, Latin
teachers are, well, Latin teachers.)It is very alike the game
you played in the schoolyard: you had to answer to a lot of
questions using such required word but avoiding such other.
Remember! It was not easy to place "rhinoceros" and avoid
when asked: "Where were you on Sunday?"; nevertheless, you
managed to! You were a gifted ventriloquist and avoided the
m-b-p word "zoo".
In your own language, you use circumlocutions to exclude
certain words. In a parallel step, speaking a foreign language
is learning how to use circumlocutions in order to avoid some
words: those you don't know.
Think of the words you do not know as your m-b-p words.
Do not try to pronounce m-b-p words without moving your lips,
you would spend precious time for nothing. Do not fight
obstacles, get round them. Ventriloquists do not master the
movements of their lips, they choose their words. Whatever
language you choose to learn, there are always several ways to
About The Author: Gabrielle Guichard, a French teacher who can
be reached on GabrielleGuichard.com and listened to on