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Student has tongue extended to assist studies

12th August 2011

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For most of us the months before university consist of stocking up on Wilkinsons' kitchen supplies, extending our overdrafts and printing off mountains of reading lists.

But one teenager has gone to extreme lengths for the sake of her degree.

Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones, 19, from Nottingham, has undergone a tongue lengthening procedure -in order to ensure a 'native' Korean accent for when she starts university in September.

Currently waiting for her A-level results, she is hoping to start a Korean Studies and Business degree at Sheffield this autumn.

Her degree will include a year studying at university in Seoul, South Korea. She plans to live and work there as a graduate, as there are high earning opportunities for native English speakers in Korea.

The procedure took twenty minutes, and was carried out at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham a year ago. It had healed within two weeks, although Rhiannon said it was 'agony' at first.

Rhiannon's interest in Korean culture started at school, and she had been learning Korean for two years before undergoing  the operation.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live that people find it odd at first, but that her family and friends have always been supportive.

She added that the Korean letter 'L' comes from a higher place in the mouth than the English 'L', and because she had a shorter than average tongue her voice was unable to reach the level required for a 'native' accent. Her tongue is now 1cm longer. 


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