UK: Improved vowel movements.

UK: Improved vowel movements. - Queue up, queue up, and you too can learn how to speak with the authoritative tones of a Radio 4 newsreader as opposed to a Vic Reeves sound-alike, surprising your friends and winning the envy of your colleagues.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Queue up, queue up, and you too can learn how to speak with the authoritative tones of a Radio 4 newsreader as opposed to a Vic Reeves sound-alike, surprising your friends and winning the envy of your colleagues.

This, at least, is the claim behind the latest offering from Lucie Clayton College, which has just launched a new course for improving the accents of ambitious young women. The college, which is best known as a finishing school for would-be debutantes, has also opened its doors to men for the first time.

Head of studies Judith Cornes insists that "our admiration for regional English is unquestioned". But, in dulcet tones unblemished by her own Midlands upbringing, she explains that regional Brits who live under the scrutiny of Londoners have to accept that "people will judge you by the way you speak, not just judging your social class but how intelligent and how professional you are".

The course actually began because business people were expressing concern - like the boss who rang up to ask whether Lucie Clayton could improve the speech of a female employee so that he would feel more comfortable promoting her. Shades of Henry Higgins.

In the course participants use playbacks on tape and "role-playing exercises"; they learn to polish up accents, phonetics, grammar and the speed of their speech.

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