Adding Insult to Investigation

One thing I think we’d like to do with this blog is share ideas for new and fun Omnish exercises. One of us will write a post soon sharing one or two that aren’t in the book. I have also found a need in my teaching, however, for some extra Outlandish exercises. I hesitate to introduce Omnish until my students are thoroughly grounded in the Empty Chart—in all the specific possibilities of obstruent action. But because the Bataan Death March through the Empty Chart can take up to five ninety-minute classes, I have a great need for fun things to do for warm-ups and for quick head and tongue-clearing breaks in the middle of these classes.

One thing I’ve found to be effective and a lot of fun is to have students insult each other in Outlandish. Outlandish, being outlandish, has even more potential for extreme and enthusiastic expression than Omnish does. So it lends itself wonderfully to insults. I generally divide the class into two groups, and send each group to opposite sides of the room. One member of one group walks forward towards the other group and insults them, in Outlandish. The insulted group, as a whole, then responds by repeating, incredulously, the insult or the end of the insult, ideally using a kind of ‘Did he really just say that?’ inflection as they look at each other, full of righteous umbrage. One of them then steps forward and insults the other group generally, hopefully topping the first insult. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Besides being a lot of fun and changing the energy in the room after some very focussed attention on individual specific articulations, this exercise encourages a lot of active muscularity. Whether or not it’s pointed out to them after the fact, they get an early chance to start experiencing what it’s like to really be physically engaged in the act of speaking. Which is the whole point, after all.

Do you have any fun or creative Outlandish exercises that you do with students?

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2 thoughts on “Adding Insult to Investigation

  1. Being such a newbie, I don’t have anything to offer, but I’d like to add a plea for exercises for individual students that are as much fun as this, fun things to play with on their own. All I can come up with is to go home and create a community of soft toys, use them as puppets.

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