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Teen Rhiannon Brooksbank Has Tongue Lengthened To Speak Korean

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Learning to speak a foreign language requires painstaking practice, and if that doesn't work, it might be time to for minor, yet painful oral surgery.

Rhiannon Brooksbank, 19, is so dedicated to mastering Korean that she recently had her unusually short tongue lengthened so she could improve her pronunciation, The Telegraph reported.

Brooksbank took up Korean two years ago and quickly became obsessed. Despite her best efforts, her accent failed to develop. Her dentist advised that the problem might be coming from her thicker-than-average lingual frenulum -- the piece of skin connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, The Daily Mail said.

After consulting with her parents and language tutor, Brooksbank decided to undergo a simple operation known as a lingual frenectomy, which involves making an incision in the skin where the tongue is attached. Rhiannon's tongue is now 1 cm longer, and she can pronounce words that she couldn't before the surgery.

Brooksbank-Jones told the Telegraph more about the procedure's results:

'I'd been learning Korean for about two years, and my speaking level is now high, but I was really struggling with particular sounds. 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."

She went on to tell the publication that, for her, the procedure was like getting a tooth pulled. Rhiannon is hoping to study the language at the University of Sheffield, as well as a one-year study abroad program at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

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