‘Thanks for Everything’: Feedback on my Accent Course

I received a review of my accent course from Alex who is learning the Estuary English accent (so that he doesn’t sound like he is from any particular social class but somewhere in-between). Here’s what he had to say…


My name is Alex and I am from the Netherlands.
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating your accent training course.
For years I have been trying to get the slightly Dutch sounds out of my English pronunciation, but I could not quite figure out how to do that. By ‘knowing my cave’ I have become more aware of the way I speak and it has helped me to properly use the parts of my throat and mouth that are used in a British English accent.
Although to you Dutch might sound very different from English, there are lots of sounds that partly correspond, which makes it more difficult to copy the British sounds.

If you are interested to learn a clear British accent, check out my accent training course. I teach you standard British pronunciation as well as any changes to make if you want to get a more Estuary ‘in-between social classes’ effect.

Jade Joddle Speech Biography

BIOGRAPHY – My Journey

I am not a naturally gifted speaker but I am someone who has worked extremely hard to get where I am today. I consider speech to be both my greatest weakness and my biggest strength in life. When I was a child mutism was a big issue for me; I couldn’t talk even if I wanted to in situations where I felt uncomfortable or shy. In fact, I do still suffer from mutism, but improving my speaking skills as a result of making over 500 YouTube videos and changing my lifestyle in ways that suit my introverted personality means that it happens much less often nowadays.

Speaking for me is full of contradictions: in some situations I close up like a clam and can’t say a word, and in other situations I can’t shut up! At school I always sat at the front of the class and put my hand up for every question, and at university I happily engaged in debates with lecturers and students alike, often dominating seminars with my outspoken opinions (I graduated with a First Class degree in English Literature). Another contradiction: while I can give a spontaneous talk lasting an hour to a crowd of 200 people with relative ease, I sometimes feel painfully awkward when saying ‘thank you’ to a cashier in a shop.

The English language and its words have always been an imaginative escape for me. When I was little I would even get absorbed reading the back of the shampoo bottle while having a bath: ‘Aqua, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate…’. Another fixation I had at around ten years old was reading every entry in my giant Oxford English Dictionary until I finished it.

My fascination with the English language began with reading words, though over time this has changed into the sounds of words and voices speaking words. The sounds of speech, word choice, the presence or absence of vocal ticks and the position of a person’s voice is something that to me carries layers upon layers of normally hidden information. When I hear a voice now, I can peer into a person’s psychology, like an x-ray machine. However, I limit those kinds of observations as doing so and talking about what I find is snooping and boundary violation, unless I have been specifically asked to read a person in that way.

A big failure for me is that so far my talent for language does not extend to actually speaking any foreign languages beyond the basics. While my ear can quickly pick up a language when it comes to understanding what is going on, my tongue is frozen unless I am completely comfortable. I lived in Turkey for two and a half years and during that time I can only recall one conversation where I felt comfortable enough that I let go and actually spoke Turkish, absolutely astounding myself that I could speak the language, for once! The rest of the time either my mind was blank or I would awkwardly deflect attempts at conversation with short, automatic answers. Before living in Turkey I did encounter instances of foreign language mutism in myself but it was definitely not on such an impossible and frustrating level. If there can be any positives to take away from this experience of personal failure, I know how to make people who have a tendency to mutism when speaking English comfortable and how to get them speaking when normally they can’t say a word. When this has happened in the past it has been immensely fulfilling to give another person the gift of speech over mutism. It’s a wonderful gift and I wish I could give it to myself so I could speak foreign languages too!

In terms of my own voice and speaking skills, this is something that continues to evolve. Whereas I used to be motivated to eliminate my personal speech difficulties so I did not have to face them anymore, now I am much more accepting of what makes my own speech unique. This is also shown in that nowadays I am much more compelled towards being authentic rather than perfect in the way that I present myself in videos. My view is that with persistence speech difficulties can be overcome and triumphed over, though not all of the battles we face are worth the strain of a long, hard fight. So I recommend that you choose your battles wisely.

And lastly, I hope that as a teacher I fill you with knowledge, make you think, and give you inspiration to speak.

My New Direction

Let me start by saying thank you to everyone who donated regarding my sickness. I’m not back to work yet in terms of doing emails and admin stuff but when I am I will reply to each of you personally.

The last two and a quarter years in my life have been very difficult for me and I have had to make some very hard personal decisions in my private life. Most of that I haven’t spoken about, so unless we are friends in real life you won’t know much about that – that part is private and sacred I won’t talk about it on YouTube, ever. Part of the reason this period has been so difficult for me is because I have been forced to learn that I am the most important person in my world, and that I have to put myself first in order to be happy and well.

During this difficult time I lost much of my creativity and because of this doing my work became a struggle; something I had to force rather than it be spontaneous and effortless, as it used to be. There were even many times I wanted to quit YouTube altogether or to sell out and get someone else to make content for me, just so I could make money.

But good changes also came as a result of my life difficulties (and believe me when I say these difficulties were HARD) – I became more real, and I dropped my video persona. If you compare older videos to more recent ones, you will see the difference. I see that as huge progress – to become a real person rather than a fake persona and to be totally comfortable with that.

On a practical level, there were also big challenges to face which in fact have not been resolved. I stopped teaching English on my Jade Joddle channel about 2 years ago, but yet many people who follow that channel think that what I am doing there is teaching English. This is not the case really. I teach about speech and pronunciation sometimes, but not learning English as a broader subject. All the old videos about learning English are still there, but it is not what I do anymore. Everything to do with learning English is on my other channel, English Jade. The result of this is confusion: people expect one thing (learning English) which is not what I am giving them.

CLARIFYING MY DIRECTION

Now my life is straightening out and I am recovering I can see more clearly what it is I want to do on my Jade Joddle channel. That channel is about self-expression, the psychology of speech and my observations of life, such as in this video. I also have an interest in poetry so I will keep that aspect of things going too. I want to explore all emotions in my video work and to be a real person, warts and all. I know that this channel will never be a big money maker because most people in general don’t want to watch that kind of thing and in fact don’t get the level of authenticity it requires. Never mind, this is a creative decision, not a business decision. My EngVid channel will also continue with new English lessons on the way.

I am also starting a totally new project that will not be on YouTube. This project is still incubating now but it will be about me connecting with people in real life and documenting the experience. When the time is right, I’ll tell you about it and you can decide if you want to follow me into my new beginning, new life cycle. It will be something completely new, a fresh start and nothing to do with the old.

I am recovering but the time is still not right for me to return to YouTube. I’m incubating; the eggs are cooking!

YouTube is Wrecking The Learning English Experience

Feeling nostalgic about the old days of learning English on YouTube when there was a lot more variety and smaller teachers could still be discovered easily and gather around them their own audiences. These days the situation is very different – YouTube picks a genre favourite channel and this teacher gets promoted behind the scenes (English with Lucy). Additionally, the algorithm changes suppress smaller, less professional channels.