Speech is best acquired through the ear by imitating a good model. It sometimes happens, however, that a child cannot make a sound correctly through imitation. In that case, his attention should be directed to the position of the organs of speech.
Some sounds can be correctly produced in different ways. For instance, many speakers make by raising the tip of the tongue, others by lowering it. The acoustic effect is the same in both cases. Generally speaking, if the sound seems right to the ear the method of making it should not be criticized.
The position of the mouth in the front views is used in making the sound for drill purposes. This position is more exaggerated than for ordinary speech. For example, the vowel sounds employed in the drill exercises at the beginning of each lesson read as:
- a in arm,
- a as in ate,
- ee as in eve ,
- oo as in om e,
- oh as in oak ,
- aw as in all.
The sounds of the short vowels are used as - a in at, oo in book, u in up, and o in odd. So far as practicable, the words selected for drill have been arranged as follows:
- The sound being studied should be stressed in drill exercises and words. The unnatural emphasis, however, should not be used in the sentences and in selections for reading and memorizing.
- The sentences have been selected with reference to the frequent occurrence of the sound illustrated.
- The drill lessons on the substitution, omission and addition of a sound will prove helpful in correcting errors of pronunciation, as "wery" for "very," "dis" for "this," etc.
In arranging the quotations for reading and memorizing, those have been selected which contain the sound to be illustrated a number of times. The author and content have also been kept in mind.
It is hoped that these extracts will serve to revive selections already familiar and serve as a slight introduction to the sounds whose acquaintance has not yet been made.
Tips for clear speech and tone production
In order to speak well and be heard in a large room certain conditions for producing voice are necessary. Among them are:
- Open tone passage.
- Voice support.
Breath is the material of which voice is made. It is essential for good tone production that the lungs have plenty of room to expand. The body should, therefore, be erect but not rigid. The head should be held up. The arms should hang easily at the sides. (To obtain this relaxed condition of the arms raise them at the sides on a level with the shoulders, then quickly relax the muscles and allow the arms to fallout swing into position at the sides.)
In order to produce a clear, pure carrying tone the voice passage should be open and free from constriction or tightness. The muscles of the throat and jaw should be relaxed. (The exercise of dropping the jaw quickly and allowing the mouth to "fall open," then slowly closing it, practiced several times will aid in securing this relaxed condition.)
The carrying power of a voice depends largely upon its support. Good voice support depends upon lung power and well-developed muscles controlling the organs used in breathing. The support should be in the center of the body, not in the throat. To develop voice support vocal exercises should be practiced.
The following drills for voice building with slight changes and additions are taken from " Manual of Speech Training " by Dr. Frederick Mart in, Director of Speech Improvement, New York City.
These exercises are intended not only to produce better voice support but also to develop the vocal organs. The lack of this voice training gives rise to many speech defects. The exercises should be practiced in a clear lower median pitched tone.
The jaw should be relaxed, and for the ah and aw sounds the mouth should be opened wide. The sounds of each group should follow each other continuously without a break of any kind.
After some practice, for example, the six sounds can be given easily five and six times in one breath. Practicing these long groups in this way will not only develop voice support but also teach the learners to unconsciously, localize all breath. The following drills will develop flexibility of the lips and relaxation of the jaw and open mouth delivery.