Speak like the Queen when spelling long words

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Recently I told a tweenage student to “speak like the Queen” when spelling long words, and her mother said “I don’t think you’ve ever heard the Queen speak, have you?” (headshake). “We must listen to the Queen’s Christmas Message this year”.

The Queen’s Christmas Message was A Thing Australians listened to, before we had 27,000 TV channels and our own national anthem, and before Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith became so elderly she stopped going on telly much.

Fortunately, not only is Her Majesty now on Twitter, but her Christmas messages are on Youtube, in case any kids you know want to listen to them, with a view to imitating her wonderfully rounded vowels and crisp and precise consonants while spelling. Here’s last year’s, skip to 0:45 on the video clock for where she starts talking:

I’m sure if we all enunciated words like “sculpture”, “reconciliation”, “sacrifice”, “captured”, “referendum” and “Ebola” like Her Majesty, we’d always spell them right.

If history is your thing, she’s posher and less concerned with newfangled notions like humility in her first Christmas message (I do love the way she says “often”, “very”, “lost” and “old”) of 1957, plus it’s delightfully low-tech – no teleprompter then – and she has a super nice shiny frock:

If you’re a republican and/or atheist, you might prefer to use a TV character like Penelope Keith’s Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton of To the Manor Born as a spelling voice model. She’s also a bit funnier than the Queen.


One response to “Speak like the Queen when spelling long words”

  1. John Walker says:

    Years ago, most people would tune-in for the Queen’s speech at 3pm on a Christmas Day, timed so that we’d all just licked the last drops of cream from the pudding off our plates. Nowadays, hardly anyone I know seems to bother.
    You’re right about her accent though: it has shifted perceptibly over the years, although she still says /aw/ (where most people here say /o/) in words like ‘often’ and ‘lost’. We used to have a joke about her accent which went: Qu: What are sex? Ans: What the Queen has her coal delivered in.
    By the bye, after years of teaching my daughter to read and write the ‘Sounds-Write’ way, the other day, she informed that using a ‘spelling voice’ didn’t make sense. As I’m currently reading The Miniaturist, I asked her to spell it. She couldn’t! … until I said it in a spelling voice, since which time she keeps coming up to me and asking if I’ve finished The Mi nee a ture ist yet! And she can spell it – correctly! Quod erat demonstrandum!
    Looking forward to seeing you soon in your natural habitat.
    Best wishes,

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