Here’s a review by Eleni who joined my accent course a couple of months ago. Eleni didn’t need accent training to get a British accent but she did want to improve the tone and expression of her way of speaking.
I grew up in a Greek-speaking home, in New York City, in Queens. Yes, you can understand that my speaking voice could use some refinement.
In the summer of 2016, I joined the Thomson-Reuters chapter of Toastmasters. The speakers there are dedicated, long-term members, and top-notch. Vocal variety is a critical skill to have and we are scored on it at every session. This brought forward a desire I long had but had dismissed. Voice class. I always wanted to do that. I am not an actor nor a singer and have no plans to be on stage. I thought that voice classes were meant only for those professions. My interest was immediately piqued this past February 2017 when I read in “The Daily Mail” an article featuring a speaking skills expert, Jade Joddle. Everything came together.
I contacted her and we had a one-hour session together. Speaking Greek, I grew up in an environment with a language that has a different music than English. I am not a musical person and do not have a good ear for the spoken word. There are things that I would need pointed out to me. When we spoke, Jade told me that I tend to drop my “k’s” at the end of a word. I turned to my Greek dictionary immediately. Our words do not end with “k” sounds. In Greek, we are only allowed to accent the last three syllables of a word. I sometimes stress an “off-syllable” in English.
I enrolled in her accent training class. I have no intention of taking on a British accent. (It would count against as a New Yorker as people would consider me affected.) What I do gain from the class is practice in expression, tone and flow. The pauses, punctuation, the shape of our lips as we speak – all things I once paid no mind to.
My number one takeaway: The more I do the lessons, the more I notice. I am not done with them all. I would say that I am half-way through but I do plan on doing the entire series over again so that I can act on what I have learned.
I am beginning to like the sound of my own voice more.