Nasality is the result of too much sound coming through your nose.

You've heard the voice that sound extremely whiny or twangy. Listening to them can give you the feeling as fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. You just want to cover your ears.

You may not have that excessive nasality. However, you may have a slight nasality that you don't realize. To check how strong your nasality is, I'd like to ask you to put your fingers slightly on your nose, say the word "he". Did you feel any vibration? If so, you have at least one sound that should not come through your nose.

In English, there are only three sounds that should come through your nose, and they are m, n, ng. Other than those three sounds, when you say the rest of the sounds you shouldn't feel any vibration in your nose.
So test yourself on the word "he" again, did you feel any vibration? If so, you'll learn how to eliminate that later. If not, good, try the following sentence, still with your fingers touching your nose.

"The civics class agreed that the illegal deeds were outrageous."

Did you feel any vibration? You shouldn't feel any vibration, because it contains none of the nasal sound, m, n, ng, at all.

Nasality happens when your soft palate is too lazy to lift up, therefore excessive air comes through your nose. When you speak most of the sounds, ideally, your soft palate lifts and closes off the nasal passage and the air moves out through your mouth.

Your soft palate isn't being lifted up, mostly because of two reasons. Number one, your jaw and tongue are not relaxed, they are too tense. Number two, your mouth is not opening wide enough.

To show you the difference, try the following exercise.

First, say these words with excessive nasality. Tighten your jaw and hump up the back of your tongue, then say these words: can, man, van, Dan, jam

Now, say these words with the proper nasality. To do that, you need to be relaxed. Drop your jaw. Let your tongue lie on the floor of your mouth. Then say these words.

If you have any unnecessary nasal sound, that means you are not producing your sound properly and you have tension in you.

To get rid of unnecessary nasality takes time and practice. Once you've learned breathing with the support of your diaphragm, you'll improve even faster. We'll talk about that in the future. Until then, keep practicing. Every time before you speak, make sure your jaw is dropped and your tongue is resting on the floor of your mouth, you'll have a much better sound.

Author's Bio: 

Cynthia is a voice and speech coach and trainer, based in Singapore. She helps you discover your inner true voice that is authentic and confident. She also helps organizations on voice and presentation skills training.
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