Recommending clearer, more precise articulation movements must be done with considerable caution. Unless suggestions are specific they can be misleading. In clearly articulated speech there is vigorous movement of the lips and tongue tip, but not excessive vertical movement of the jaw. This observation must be a well-kept professional secret, because when lay people are asked to use clearer speech they invariably "yap" with the jaw. More about jaw "yapping" in the next section.
When lip movements provide the best visual information for the hearing impaired these movements are precise but not exaggerated. Lips are spread towards a smile for the vowels in "Beet," "bit," "bait," and "bet"; the lip opening is rather square for the vowels in "bat," "bite," and "Bart"; they become progressively rounded for the vowels in "bought," "boat," "book," and "boot"; slightly pursed for "Burt; and neutral for the vowels in "but" and "above." Lip movements are quite visible for the consonants /p/. /b/, /m/,/w/,,/wh/,/f/, /v/, /sh/, and /zh/.
The teeth play a visual role for consonant phonemes /f/,/v/, /th/(voiced), and /xh/(unvoiced "th" as in "thick"). Teeth are closest to occlusion for /s/ and /z/ and widest apart for /a/, /ah/, and /aw/. Usually the tongue tip is seen when articulating the two "th" phonemes, and the underside of the tongue tip is sometimes visible for /t/,/d/,/n/,/l/,/ch/,/j/,/y/, and possibly /r/. It is difficult to see the underside of the tongue tip for /s/ and /z/ because the teeth are so close together for these sounds. The back-of-tongue vowels and consonants /k/,/g, and /ng/ are invisible unless you hold a powerful flashlight at just the right angle and the mouth is wide open. Forget them!
The writer of this manual prefers the term "speechreading" rather than "lipreading" because people who "speechread" really do watch facial expressions, tongue, and jaw movements in addition to the lips. Speechreaders also make use of situation cues. To be a good speechreader one must also ban an expert at guessing correctly! Nevertheless, those who use Cued Speech must have healthy respect for the information which is available through speechreading. Without such oral visual information Cued Speech couldn't possibly work -- and, of course, it does! So let's leave the ventriloquists skills to those who work with dummies.
If you have access to a video camcorder, photograph yourself saying the test sentences. Then, with the sound turned off, check the play-back carefully for possible visual confusions or ask someone else to watch the tape and monitor you. If you don't have access to a video recorder, watch yourself in a mirror or have someone watch you who can't hear very well. You might run the vacuum cleaner for masking noise.
/ee/-/ur/ 1. "I lost a sheet. I lost a shirt." /a/-/oo/-/ue/ 2. "Watch your back. Watch your book Watch your bike." /aw/-/e/-/ue/ 3. "That's my lawn. That's my Len. That's my loon." /ah-/oh/-/uh/ 4. "It's your cart. It's your coat. It's your cut." /aw-i/-/e-i/ 5. "Joy was with us. Jay was with us." /ah-i/-/ah-oo/ 6. "Won't you come dine with us? Won't you come down with us?" /m/-/f/-/t/ 7. "You can take it. You can make it. You can fake it." /h/-/s/-/r/ 8. "Will you hide with us? Will you ride with us? Will you side with us?" /p/-/d/-/zh/ 9. "There's a pimple on your chin. There's a dimple on your chin." 10. "Ada is interesting. Asia is interesting." /th/-/z/-/k/ 11. "The clothing sale is Friday. The closing -/v/ sale is Friday. 12. "You can't hack it. You can't have it." /b/-/n/-/wh/ 13. "He saw a whale. He saw a bale. He saw a nail." /l/-/w/-/sh/ 14. "Lee will do it. She will do it. We will do it." /j/-/g/-/zh/ 15. "Your bag is ready. Your bath is ready. Your badge is ready." /ch/-/y/-/ng/ 16. "I played yesterday." I played chess today. 17. I'm not a ring salesman. I'm not a rich salesman."Assuming that one doesn't have an articulation problem of some kind, what can be done to improve the visibility of speech movements?
(Note: Since this manual was originally published the author has developed a "Cued Speechreading Test" which has been standardized and is available for those being evaluated for certification.