Monday, 12 April 2010

The skill of serious speaking

Shakespeare's had many "secret weapons" in his long list of skills. I have known for years that the Poet creates drama using long vowel sounds, particularly the "oo" sound. Now I am delighted to find my theory systematically analysed in a book on poetic techniques called "The Anatomy of Poetry" by Majorie Boulton. The "oo", "or" or "oh" and other long vowels impart a sense of dignity and seriousness, a sense of calm and authority.

Here are some authoritative, soothing long vowels which give weight and beauty to that wonderful Chorus speech in "Henry V":

"Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fill the wide vessel of the universe
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night".

Now has an "ow" which is nearly as good as "oh" as in "so". "Murmur" is two long vowels and sounds like murmuring sounds. "Poring" has that long "or", "universe" has a long "u" that sounds like an "oo" and "foul womb" is two long vowels. Each line has a long vowel. This technique is conscious. Shakespare must have kept either in his head or in note format a "word hoard" (as the Anglo Saxon poets called lists of rich words) of long vowel sounds.

Canny writers, politicians, barristers, preachers and speechwriters take note. It is worth drawing up lists of long vowelled words and then using them liberally. I am.

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