Most people feel that putting some effort into learning a new language is enough. The time spent attending class, doing homework, listening to podcasts and practicing speaking is sufficient for busy people with a lot of commitments.
Not so for one British teenager. Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones has undergone surgery on her tongue to achieve better Korean pronunciation. Apparently she had a condition called “ankyloglossia”, which made her “tongue-tied” and unable to produce certain sounds.
The condition, in which the frenulum(the bit that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth) is too short and/or too thick, sometimes resolves itself in early childhood, but this was not the case for Rhiannon. She has such a passion for Korean culture and language that her aim is to live there after graduation. She told the Daily Mail:
‘I’d been learning Korean for about two years, and my speaking level is now high, but I was really struggling with particular sounds.
‘It became apparent after a little while that I was having trouble with the Korean letter ‘L’, which is very frequent and comes from a slightly higher place in the mouth than the English ‘L’, and that my tongue was too short.
‘My pronunciation was very ‘foreign’, but now I can speak with a native Korean accent. The surgical procedure was my only option. It’s not like you can stretch your tongue otherwise. I just decided enough was enough.
‘For me it was an important thing, because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and if I can’t do it perfectly, it really irritates me.
‘Some might say it’s extreme, but you could apply the same argument to plastic surgery.
‘That makes people feel more confident looks-wise, and this made me feel more confident language-wise. For me, it was like having a tooth pulled.’ (Source: Daily Mail)
Would you go this far to achieve perfection in your target language?