SPEECH IMPROVEMENT: Elevated/Classical American Diction


This is David Alan Stern’s Program for learning a more heightened style of American diction often used for classical works of drama.
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Learning Elevated/Classical American Diction


The Speech-Improvement download contains seventy-three (73) minutes of systematic instruction in MP3 sound files. Also, you’ll get a printable PDF of the instruction manual. It contains summaries of the audio lessons and full transcripts of the drill words, phrases, and passages.


You’ll learn a style of American articulation/diction often used in American productions of Shakespeare and other classical scripts. These including translations of Greek plays, Molière, and the 19th-century European realists. Therefore, the style is heightened but still American at its core. It does not drop post-vowel R’s or move in the direction of British RP vowels. This program may also be used as a follow-up to any of the downloads for reducing American Regional Accents. Here’s the program’s sequence of instruction.

  • The 1st Unit demonstrates D.A. Stern’s definitions of four different styles of American non-regional speech: Sloppy, Colloquial, Elevated, and Affected.
  • Unit 2 provides brief instruction in the resonance or voice placement of American non-regional speech.
  • The 3rd Unit drills the formation of Elevated or Heightened versions of Non-Regional American vowels.
  • Unit 4 finds a balance between non-rhotic or dropped R’s and the very harsh R’s of some American regionalisms.
  • The 5th Unit teaches you, for classical acting, to avoid “sloppy” pronunciation of vowels in unstressed syllables while not overdoing them.
  • Unit 6 strikes a balance between sloppy articulation and over pronunciation of consonants and clusters.
  • The 7th Unit similarly creates a balance between sloppy and affected articulation of “little” or “auxiliary” words.
  • Unit 8 also moves toward making you comfortable with a slower speaking rate when performing classical text.
  • The 9th Unit briefly addresses a somewhat increased degree of intonation or pitch variety for classical text.
  • The Final Lesson puts the Elevated/Classical speech style together and coaches you through it in several drill passages.