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Did you have elocution lessons ?

(109 Posts)
Floradora9 Sun 25-Sep-22 14:54:16

I have been listening to Miriam Margolis's biography and she mentioned having elocution lessons and was sad that they had changed her speaking voice . Did you have lessons ? I missed because I had singing lessons. I belonged to a small girls choir ( small as in a few of us only ) and my parents had to pay fees for the lessons. We would go out to entertain groups like the Rotary club but only in our own town . Miriam's mother took her all over England to compete in competitions in which she always came in the first three winners. I do not know of any children now who have these lessons just speech therapy for those who really require it .

Callistemon21 Sun 25-Sep-22 14:58:07

Yes, but not private ones. We had elocution lessons in the first year at senior school.
Can't have our gels letting the school down with their local accents!

Fleurpepper Sun 25-Sep-22 15:05:02

LOL no. But for kids from rural, and especially northern regions, passing the 11+ and going to Grammar School required them to change accent and even syntax, or they would be bullied mercilessly. Melvyn Bragg, who grew up in Lancashire explains that very well in his book on the English language.

avitorl Sun 25-Sep-22 15:05:29

Yes, it was part of the curriculum at the school I attended but it was done as a whole class and not individual tuition.
I loved it as we did choral speaking and it wasn't meant to make us "posh" but to speak clearly and improve our confidence

Jaylou Sun 25-Sep-22 15:10:56

I had them. My parents also paid for extra ones, not because of my speaking voice, but because I was painfully shy, and they thought standing up in front of people speaking poetry and prose would help. Hated them with a passion but my parents were only trying to help.
Don't think they helped, I just grew out of my shyness as I became older.

btw I am really not a fan of Miriam Margoyles at all, so won't be reading her book. Find her very blunt bordering on rude. But hope you enjoyed the book

JaneJudge Sun 25-Sep-22 15:12:10

God, no grin

silverlining48 Sun 25-Sep-22 15:14:55

My children didn’t have elocution nor did I, but it seemed to be more common years ago.
I had a school friend who went to elocution lessons in the early 60 s when she was about 12.
She still speaks ‘nicely’.

Joseanne Sun 25-Sep-22 15:15:30

'Fraid so for my sins. Twice a week if I remember. I did LAMDA and Guildhall exams too. Also competitions all over London - verse speaking, prose, acting, miming, even Bible reading! I have a drawer full of engraved medals my DGC play with.
I went to an inner London comprehensive and no way did I use my elocution voice at school.

BlueBelle Sun 25-Sep-22 15:23:29

No I didn’t, but I have no accent although I come from a part of the world with a heavy country accents so can only presume we were taught along the way within each lesson I was a day pupil at a boarding school ( not private) and there were girls from all over so guess we all merged into a non accent way of speech

henetha Sun 25-Sep-22 15:26:23

I did, because of a slight speech impediment. Privately, every Saturday morning in a flat above a shop near where I lived. She entered
me into several poetry speaking and drama competitions.
She must have been cheap as we were not at all well off.
My second son also had a speech impediment so, to my amazement that she was still there, he had a few sessions with her too. She was quite inspiring and it's from her that I began my love of poetry.

Yammy Sun 25-Sep-22 15:26:49

Yes in the last year of Junior school as a class and at Grammar school when we were due to apply for university.
The teachers were mainly from elsewhere and didn't want the local accent to come through in interviews.
I can remember saying" How do you do my name is ....... "and then breaking into Cumbrian when the questioning started. My parents never paid for them and I didn't for my children but they were taught how to speak and act in an interview at school.

Juliet27 Sun 25-Sep-22 15:31:29

Yes, mum paid for private lessons. Not sure why as I don’t think I had an accent that she felt needed changing but maybe as in your case Jaylou she thought it would give me confidence. It had the reverse effect.

NanKate Sun 25-Sep-22 15:34:13

I don’t think anyone should apologise for having elocution lessons, it should imo be a personal choice.

I like accents of all kind but not slovenly speech.

I had a very bad stammer as a child so had elocution lessons which helped me communicate. I became a teacher and public speaker. I have been complimented on my clear speech.

I love to listen to Miriam M. I’ve read her book, which is not for the faint hearted! I enjoyed 90% of the book.

25Avalon Sun 25-Sep-22 15:37:51

No but mum would never let us use slang or drop our t’s. When I went to grammar school everyone spoke queens English as it was called so I just carried on from there. I am not however completely accentless. You can tell I am from the South East especially when I visit there.

BlueBelle Sun 25-Sep-22 15:37:54

Love Miriam Margolas she says it how it is

MrsKen33 Sun 25-Sep-22 15:45:14

Fleurpepper I was just thinking of that. Age 10 we moved from South Wales to the Home Counties and I went directly to grammar school. No bullying but a lot of people laughed at my accent and when I called plimsolls ‘daps’ the PE teacher told me not to be so silly. I learned quickly

Daddima Sun 25-Sep-22 16:02:26

I went with my friend when we were 4/5, as she had a ‘lithp’. I think my mother was glad to have an excuse to send me without being thought of as ‘uppity’!
I can still remember Meg Merrilees and ‘ Three ghosts, sitting on posts, eating buttered toasts’ ( presumably that one was for ‘lithp’ correction!)

Aveline Sun 25-Sep-22 16:09:17

Miriam M does have the most beautiful speaking voice.
Of course there is voice and accent. Two different things. It's hard to change voice quality itself but changing accent is much easier.

Mamie Sun 25-Sep-22 16:29:17

Yes, in the preparatory part of my independent school.
"I wonder, I wonder, I wonder, I do
Why in the morning the sky is so blue".
I was teased because I didn't say "theatre" properly.
I have a friend who grew up in Lancashire and had to say, "Father's car is a Jaguar".

paddyann54 Sun 25-Sep-22 16:40:13

No but I have a very good friend who teaches elocution and she's always busy .
I had deportment training/lessons from a wee woman whose name escacpes me but I can clearly see her in my head

.I still find myself doing the tummy in, tail in, knees together ,shoulders down and back, head UP from the crown NOT the chin that she repeated every time .
Ihave been told countless times that I have a very "proud" walk

sodapop Sun 25-Sep-22 17:20:05

I had elocution lessons when I was very young. We lived in the West Riding of Yorkshire and my parents didn't want me to have a strong accent. When I go to Yorks now my friends say I sound 'posh ' when I'm at home friends there say I have a Yorkshire accent. I do say bath and path and not barth and parth smile

Callistemon21 Sun 25-Sep-22 17:45:40

I was teased because I didn't say "theatre" properly

I've pronounced theatre a certain way all my life but have doubted myself recently, listening to a friend from another part of the UK pronounce it differently to me.

M0nica Sun 25-Sep-22 17:54:14

I did elocution, but it was nothing about changing accents or anything like that, it was more to do with having the confidence to stand up and speak. The elocution teacher was also in charge of the school play and any other drama events. She also entered teams from the school in local public speaking competitions.

I cannot describe how useful that early training in public speaking has been to me in life. It meant I joined the debating society whenI got to university and got used to standing up, saying what I thought, and holding my own in a predominantly male environment. I was good enought to represent the university in national competitions and to this day I regulalry put into use the skills I learned in my elocution lessons at school.

Oldnproud Sun 25-Sep-22 17:56:57


^I was teased because I didn't say "theatre" properly^

I've pronounced theatre a certain way all my life but have doubted myself recently, listening to a friend from another part of the UK pronounce it differently to me.

I've tried, but cannot imagine more than one way to pronounce 'theatre'. Please help me out, as I probably say the wrong one grin

joannapiano Sun 25-Sep-22 17:57:41

After I retired from teaching I worked at a posh hospital in central London as a receptionist. One day a Consultant was chatting to me and asked where I came from. I told him the quite run-down area in London where I was brought up. “You must have had elocution lessons ,” he said.
No, I said, I’m just well -educated !
Bl—dy cheek.