When it comes to learning a language, finding your voice can be challenging. It’s as if you dropped your voice behind somewhere and are picking up pieces of it again, here and there, and using it tentatively for fear of dropping it again and making a mess of things! We are used to speaking our native language with such ease; thoughts are made and words fly with such fluidity and speed – it’s our super human power! And so, your voice, which is so very personal, is compromised. Insecurity about this new and strange language working through you, intensifies. It is possible to discover a new facet of your voice, however, by thinking a little differently about speaking than you do about writing, listening, and reading.
Among the many other signals we give using our bodies, the voice is essential to making sense of all the thoughts and feelings we want to express. Your voice comes from your mind and body, where thinking, breathing, and moving are all working simultaneously to communicate your message. Speaking is an action that requires you to move your mouth in new ways that your body is not accustomed to. It helps, therefore, to think of speaking as a physical exercise – in contrast to writing, listening, and reading – where your attention to movement and breath is important and holds the key to not only improved articulation but also finding confidence in speaking your new language.
Breathing, stretching, and vocal exercises may seem unusual for an English class but they are as important as a the pen to writing or the page to reading. Clear and confident speaking can be achieved by paying attention to the source of your voice first and moving forward from there.