Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

Elocution - Do You Need to Lose Your Accent?

Elocution itself can be any one of four basic types of speech improvement - Voice, Accent removal, dealing with Speech Problems or Public Speaking.
The most popular of these being accent removal.
In a world of electronic communications, many people want to lose a regional or foreign accent if they have one.
This type of elocution is a bit like the final level of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) since it is the last thing that a person whose second language is English will tackle.
Accent removal elocution tends to attack in two directions.
Firstly, the word usage and grammar is often 'not quite right'.
As an example, let's look at the stereotypical Indian's idea of our present tense.
While we would say, "I think" (using the simple present tense), they will use the present continuous and say, "I am thinking".
No matter how hard you work on their accent, as long as they say phrases like this, they can never sound like a native speaker.
The other half of the elocution process is to tackle the actual accent.
Often this begins by slowing the speaker down since we all tend to garble our speech when we are nervous.
Having slowed it down, the elocution tutor will focus on individual words and help the student find the tongue and head position required to get each word to sound its clearest and most correct.
Although elocution is best left to an expert, there are a number of things you can do yourself to improve your clarity of speech and your Public Speaking voice.
The first thing you should do is to pin a card on the far wall of your room at about head height.
You should then stand as far away from it as you can and, keeping your eyes fixed on the card at all times, read aloud, taping your efforts.
The point of this is to make you keep your head up.
This opens airways, makes the mouth open wider and the distance between you and the card forces you to speak out.
(If you then go on to do a speech to real people, make sure that you don't fix your eyes on a person).
The other way of improving your voice is to invest in the cheapest and lowest grade tape recorder you can find.
Place it firmly under a cushion and now read aloud from a book taping your efforts.
Given the quality of the machine and its surroundings, you will have to speak extremely clearly for anyone to understand the recording.
Keep trying until they do.
Good luck with your elocution!

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