Learn elocution, brighten your career



English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


How now brown cow! This jingle was made famous by teachers of elocution and public speaking. They used it to illustrate the pronunciation of the diphthong /au/ which we also find in “plough”, “brow” and “doubt”. Indian speakers have no difficulty with these words. There may be a minor difference, since native English speakers have a perceptibly longer sound for “ow”. The mouth position is also slightly more open. The jingle has been used in many movies and television shows.


Most readers will be familiar with a similar jingle in literature. Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” had the character Henry Higgins, who was elocution teacher par excellence: he transformed a Cockney flower girl into a duchess who could speak “proper English”. The jingle he used was “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.”


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