Recently I have been paying more attention to my voice and to how I speak. As a teenager I took acting classes and therefore knew some voice and diction exercises (such as tongue twisters or talking with a wine bottle cork between the teeth), but nonetheless I spoke and still speak too fast, resulting in not-the-best diction with some blurry words. (I mean, most definitely I’m not the worst one out there, but I would like to sound like a professional!)
So I did some research online and came across with a couple of sites.
First, I found this blog entry about improving one’s English pronunciation by English teacher Melanie. Although the post is more about the English language and I needed something universal, I took the 8th tip into consideration (record yourself).
Then along came other sites and several hours of reading up little articles, as well as watching YouTube videos. What I found out (or what I already had known, but I guess I really didn’t trust my knowledge) is this:
* Warm up your jaw, lip and tongue muscles by doing some mouth exercises and stretching
* Twist your tongue using some fabulous tongue twisters
* Use singing to train your voice
* Record yourself and then listen what you sound like. When recording speeches or articles, listen yourself the next day to distance yourself from the moment
* Really try your best to speak slowly and clearly. Many people said that this conscious effort was all they needed to enunciate well.
* Learn proper breathing
* Listen to some great speeches by great orators. Then try to copy them.
OK. So what I have been doing these past 2 weeks is exercising and stretching my mouth/jaw area daily, followed by tongue twisters. Then I have been reading out loud 3 articles in my 3 main languages and recording myself. Have I noticed any change yet? No. I wonder how much time does it take to get into the habit of enunciating clearly? Because when I do these exercises I’m paying attention, but when chatting aways with friends and family I too often forget to monitor my speech. Come on, focus!
But what I have noticed, or eehm…. found out, that not only do I speak quickly in my mother tongue (which I already knew), but also in my other languages too! That came as a little surprise. So now I do take my diction issues seriously and really try to learn how to speak clearly.
What about you? All you teachers, interpreters, actors, singers, politicians and public speakers out there – how do you take care of your voice and your diction? Have you ever tried these exercises before? Have they worked for you? And after how much time did you notice changes in your speech? Maybe you have other tips and tricks to share? Let me know, I’m curious :)
The Power of Your Speaking Voice – How Good Diction Helps
English Tongue Twisters
Tongue Exercises for Articulation
How To Develop Your Speaking Voice: Exercises to Help Your Enunciation