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Enunciate Well: Practice Pronunciation

Updated on January 30, 2018
RTalloni profile image

Robertatalloni means creativity. Whether in writing or in more typical art forms, artistry (and a bit of fun) must be part of the work.

Enunciate clearly for the sake of your listeners and for your own benefit!
Enunciate clearly for the sake of your listeners and for your own benefit! | Source

Articulating Clearly is Crucial to Success

We know that good communication skills mark people as above average and that great ones open unexpected doors. Whether written or spoken, clearly and concisely conveying our meaning causes others to sit up and pay attention.

We have to define what we mean when talking about speaking clearly, though. A good deal is available on how to write well as well as on how to speak well. Many agree that one is useless without the other, but speaking well goes beyond good debate tactics or persuasive speech methods. Clear enunciation is key to successful vocal communication.

A regional accent can play a big part in understandability but there really is no reason to completely lose it in order to be able to enunciate clearly. Improving and maintaining the ability to say words with clarity is, for most people, a matter of practicing. We don’t have to let our speech slip.

Speaking clearly includes enunciating correctly.
Speaking clearly includes enunciating correctly. | Source

Correct Speech as a Health Issue?

It may be poorly developed speech habits from an early life environment, simple carelessness because we gave ourselves to popular culture, an illness, or even aging that prevents us from speaking clearly and presenting ourselves well. It is good news that solving many of the issues is simple enough if we’ll make the effort.

Speech pathologists study and treat a person’s language disorders, which can include swallowing disturbances. Besides providing care for patients in medical settings they also educate children and adults in classrooms and business environments to improve their communication skills.

The Teaching of Talking is a great resource for anyone facing the need for speech therapy. It provides information that will help patients and/or their family members understand the diagnosis they are given and could help them augment the therapy at home.

For the average person, giving articulation proper attention is not difficult but training our speech might seem boring unless someone offers an engaging way to do it. Words that must be juxtaposed are interesting to use when working on our speech because taking care to compare meanings as we practice them out loud is a twofer exercise, giving double the benefit.

The following assortment of words and sentences, if pronounced out loud with teeth closed, help exercise speech muscles so that everyday speech is strengthened and elevated. Think of it as verbal typing, relax, and have a bit of fun with the exercises.

Once you’ve practiced these you may decide to develop a new list of words to use. Who knows, that may lead to an expanded vocabulary and guess what? That makes the effort a win win on every level!

Acceptable Acquiescence–Maybe, Maybe Not

Angularly, Antonio ambled along the rambling avenue that approached Alexa’s ancient side street atelier. On almost arriving he recalled the announcement he yearned to articulate, rehearsing it aloud. He aimed to account for his absence and animatedly assumed a bright abandonment to his aspiration. Allocating the correct amount of time had not been any easier than assigning the correct time. He aspired to win the day with assertive but arduous advances. Making an assumption that Alice would agreeably acquiesce to his arbitration, his anticipation was nothing less than artificial. She would not be available.

Speak clearly and choose your words well.
Speak clearly and choose your words well. | Source

Determination Wins the Day in a Deadlock

Determinedly, the new clients were decisively deadlocked in debating the diagram. Decelerating their denouncements or debunking their design was a daunting task. Dignifying their dictatorial position with deferential responses left a bad taste in Duke’s mouth, but diffusing the diminishing negotiations needed careful diplomacy. Declaring them dimwits was out of the question. Dutifully, he dauntlessly avoided a complete disconnect via dizzying discourse. By pointing out divergencies in each of their plans he dispelled digression. Decorum dissipated their disquieted demeanors. In the end, disputes were disregarded and Duke defied them with his reputation undamaged. The blockbuster deal turned his bad taste dulcet.

Knowing Better than to Flauntingly Flout Foxiness

The winter’s sky was a fairy land of flakes. Flaunting its beauty, the weather flouted all fiats fitting a reigning queen. Flutteringly, filagreed filaments of ice flattered the wind and filled the forest. A fleecy landscape was fragile and treacherous for all but those who frequented its frozen paths and the cub was too young to be forsaken. Why had its mama fox faded away? Had he really been forgotten? Was there no way for him to follow her footprints? Would he be able to forage for food in the flaccid chaparral? Flint flattened his furry ears and squinted as a faint rustle grew louder. Shoulders low, knees flexed, he was ready to fly. It was a facade, though. Where would he go? The faceless sound made him feeble, but then a filial presence nudged the fledgling fox. In a frenzy he greeted his fearless mama.

Gambit, Gamut

The guitar caused Gordon’s emotions to run the gamut of joy as Gillian played his arrangement. Containing his glee when she concluded the glimmering rendition was grueling. It was a huge gamble to present the piece to this audience after the glaring criticism from her grudging agent, but it was their gambit. When he grasped their courageous strategy the rage would be savage, but nothing could change the people’s glad reception of the poignant piece. Gustav was more an agent of the government than her negotiator. They needed to be swift if they were to dodge his grip. Gordon had arranged for them to leave the grounds immediately but would his dear guitarist leave her beloved guitar? Light glared on the grassy areas, so they clung to the shadows, managing to stay within the hedges. Guards remained quiet as they approached the landing pad. In dangerous times, graft is a logical organ. Code eggbeater went seamlessly. Setting the case down, Gillian ran from her only remaining piece of home without glancing back.

What do we sound like?!
What do we sound like?! | Source

Seemingly Ingenuous, but Actually Ingenious

Something about the way Ignatus spoke impressed him as ingenuous. Icarus was familiar with naive prey. Apparently indefensible, he would be an ideal mark. Ignatus was indiscreet, giving away too much information. Infantile in his conversation, he ingratiated himself to every trader in the market, revealing his isolated camp. I’ll need few men, Icarus thought. His inauspicious day had improved. At nightfall he would pilfer the pitched tent and inaugurate the young man into incontestable ignominy. He satiated his thirst, thereby convincing himself that the instruction would do the boy good. Perceiving that the boy was ingenious was implausible for the man. Having treated the boy’s father ignobly, Icarus was soon to learn who the instructor was. The impudent imprudence of ignoring Ignatus’ itinerary was going to leave him impoverished and imprisoned.

Staunchly Stanching Supplies Survival

As a staunch supporter of the senator she worked hard to stanch any leaks or rumors from his office, but this latest was already beyond suppression. Surely he could see the stance that had been taken in the situation. Reporters sought to know more about what had happened and a stampede was in the works. Why they would think it significant was mysterious, but their responses would have consequences. Could she subvert their seasoned seditiousness? Sequestering them crossed her mind, but that would be tying a serpentine knot around the subject, shaping unintended ramifications. A setup could be the solution. Long ago she had used the strategy with success. A little subterfuge, a bit of sham, a whole lot of pseudo succor and, well, she just might pull it off. When would he ever learn that babies cry when strangers hold them?

Loosen Up and Don't Lose Out on the Benefits of Laughter

Loosening the latch, the lankiest laborer laughed his way to the lattices. When the lovely lady’s laundry blew into the iron oak high above them she had asked him to pluck it from the leaves and limbs. The tall trellis gave him leverage and lengthened his left reach. The group’s levity increased when he lingered long enough to lose his grip. All his liveliness liquified into lethargy when he looked up from the ground with newly soiled laundry littered around his person. It didn’t take long for him to rally. He was on his fleet feet again in a flash. Salvaging his longstanding reputation with a ludicrous one-liner, the laborer lamely limped his way back to his labors.

Tortuous Travel Creates Torturous Times

The winding path twisted and turned into a tangled forest. Tommy was glad he would not return by the tortuous trail. Tackling this tracking job had his nerves teetering tenuously. The water along the way was tepid, the territorial insects were terrifying, the tapering vines were tethering, and all of his muscles were taut. The trek was teaching him lessons that tremendously taxed him. If he made it back he could only detail the experience as torturous. The opportunity to return would be determined entirely by whether the trained pterodactyl fluttered in the right direction.

Queued Up on Cue

Clueless, Concertina queued up with everyone else hoping for a quick end to the wait. There had been no clues so the callow among them were losing their calm. Someone began singing a soft cabalette, easing the quaky tension. The quarter’s thirst for the queen was unquenchable. Would she come at all? Suddenly, with quick steps, a quadrille came into sight, quadrupling the keen excitement. At a quoin with a newly built platform covered in colorful flowers, trumpeters quelled the concerned crowds. Quiet fell across the city-center when above the commoners she appeared in the balconied doorway, her coterie flanking ranks behind her. All was well. The kingdom was certain she had conquered. The quirky capital no longer quivered.

Listening to Ourselves and Others

Finding our tongues twisted always makes us wish we had spoken more carefully just as trying to listen to someone who mumbles is irritating. Learning to enunciate clearly is worth the effort both personally and professionally. Enjoy the process and benefit from the results!

Is speaking clearly important to you?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 months ago from the short journey

      Dolores Monet:

      Thank you for your comment! Yes, I know the feeling and that's one reason I worked on this post. Though I've been told I enunciate well I find I could easily let my speech patterns start stumbling. It is really sad that personal skills such as the proper speech lessons you mention are not valued today. They offer us a self-respect that convincing ourselves we're okay through positive thinking can't match.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 2 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Thanks for this one! I am sometimes appalled by the terrible mess that comes out of my own mouth. Dropped "g's" as well as a Baltimore accent. I had an old aunt who told me that when she was young, they taught proper speech in school. They learned how to modulate their voices and to enunciate words properly.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks kindly for letting us know you enjoyed this post. It was fun to write the mini stories because I could just let creativity with words dance around rather lightheartedly. But speaking clearly is serious business that can make or break situations and/or relationships by clarifying important issues or creating misunderstandings, not to mention irritating listeners.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Trying to speak with one's teeth closed certainly makes one focus on forming the words. I enjoyed reading this for a second time since commenting a year ago.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 months ago from the short journey

      Ann Carr: Thanks for adding to this post by sharing something of what you learned from your experience. So appreciate your kind feedback on this post. Refusing to become lazy in our speech lets us be more effective in our communication whether it is personal or business.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 months ago from SW England

      Hear, hear! Great article and great exercises. When I was teaching literacy to dyslexics I worked closely with a Speech Therapist; she taught me many things and we worked with many of the same students. Speaking clearly is so important for such students and, as you say, if we do so then there should be far fewer misunderstandings.

      I wish everyone could read this!


    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 months ago from the short journey

      Thank you, that's very kind to say. I looked at your profile page today and definitely want to check out more of your work. I have so much to catch up on...others articles, changes at HP, seems overwhelming right now, but hopefully I'll get there. :)

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 7 months ago from Chicago, IL

      I definitely encourage you to write more. I think you have a lot to say and there are many of us I am sure who would love to read more of your work. Good luck!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 months ago from the short journey

      Natalie Frank:

      This topic is always interesting to word lovers. :) The cultural norm has degraded to the point that poor English is relished! This article was fun to write and when I have time I would like to use the same method for other topics.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 7 months ago from Chicago, IL

      You make a number of good points. Sometimes I am appalled by the pronunciation and what even seems to be intentional mispronunciation of words from others pretty much everywhere I turn. It does not seem to be limited to any particular group of people either - it cuts across the board. Thanks for writing the article.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 9 months ago from the short journey

      Mary Wickison:

      What you say about regional accents having their drawbacks is certainly true, and something I've experienced with my southern drawl. I like to play it up just to have fun with people sometimes, but it is smart to be careful about using it too freely.

      It is interesting to think through the difficulties one can run into when languages overlap. I can see myself making loads of mistakes in crossing over languages and I imagine it would be good to be well-practiced at laughing at myself!

      It is a wonderful thing that you were able to obtain the speech therapy for your son. I'm sure that the experience would make you both compassionate toward your ESL students and also help you require excellence in their work rather than allow them to be lazy.

      Though culture does play a part in the way languages evolve it is sad when people become lazy in their speech rather than keeping the bar high for themselves, their children, and others because degraded speech reflects degraded attitudes about life in general, which we see far too much of from politicians to preachers (and others) who should be setting good examples.

      Thanks most kindly for checking out this article on speaking clearly!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 9 months ago from Brazil

      You may have opened Pandora's box with this article.

      Language can define not just your region but also your education, and social standing. I think those with regional accents may have a difficult time being taken seriously.

      My son had speech problems and he spent many years in speech therapy. We underestimated the skill that's required to form the sounds.

      I have found I am losing the ability to find the correct words in a conversation. I think this is due more to only speaking English with two people here in Brazil than aging. Many years ago, the same thing occurred when I couldn't remember certain American words when I lived in Britain.

      I am helping people learn English here and when I see them struggling to make the 'th' sound, it bothers me that native English speakers are so lazy.

      I cringe when I hear some of the English used today in videos and films, but perhaps this is the evolution of the language.

      This is an interesting article.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 11 months ago from the short journey

      Janis Leslie Evans:

      So appreciate your feedback on this piece since enunciation is something you pay attention to and work at. The comments on this article have been really interesting. It was fun to write about an important issue in a whimsical way.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 14 months ago from Washington, DC

      This is quite an interesting article, RTalloni, so unique and informative. The exercises on enunciating different letters and words are excellent for practice. I'm big on speaking clearly and enunciating so I was intrigued by this information. Great job.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 17 months ago from the short journey

      Peggy W:

      Thanks much for coming by and for letting me know which one you enjoyed most.

      The accents throughout the USA are fun stuff if we let ourselves enjoy them by not thinking too highly of our own! Newscasters' speech is an interesting thing to observe, especially overtime. Their speech patterns have changed over the last couple of years and many now have a cadence that is irritating to my ears. (I don't think it's just the content!)

      Yes, these little exercises were fun to write. So much so that I may eventually add more. They were writing exercises as well as an opportunity to think through speech exercises. I just polished a couple of these up and now have new ideas rolling around my head…

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      In certain parts of our country people living there for long periods of time seem to acquire distinctive accents. Our national newscasters obviously enunciate clearly and distinctly. I wonder how many of them have taken speech lessons? You certainly had some fun in writing these stories. The lady's laundry mishap still has me smiling.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey


      Thanks kindly for letting me know that you stopped in to check out these little practice stories intended to help us maintain and even improve our enunciation.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 22 months ago from Dubai

      Conveying the meaning of what we say catches people's attention and interest. Without proper pronunciation of words, meaning cannot be effectively conveyed. You have provided passages to practice pronunciation thank you for sharing.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      Carb Diva:

      Well thanks kindly! :) Actually, it went pretty fast once I got going on it. Just having fun with an important topic is easy. Am working on one now that is a bit tedious with lots of pertinent links. One of those "it will be worth it…" pieces. :)

      How lovely that you learned to speak well at an early age. Not everyone gets that privilege. Yes, listening to sloppy, careless speech is difficult to endure and one reason is that there are many people who would give a great deal to be able to be able to overcome a disability in their speech. Practicing enunciation really is a privilege.

      So appreciate your visit and comment!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 23 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh my goodness, how long did it take you to compose this? It is brilliant. My dad was born in the United States but raised in England, of British parents. The spoken word in our house was not sloppy--precise, distinct, and (always) understandable.

      I know that I am being biased and judgmental (to say the least), but I find myself weary of those how drawl, slur, or speak so fast that all of their words blur together.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks for stopping in to this different sort of hub. Mumblers need help, even though it is difficult to be patient with them!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well this certainly is interesting. I have trouble treating mumblers nicely.