Societies have developed historically as human beings communicated with one another in order to survive on earth. Since then societies have advanced significantly in course of time and so also has the communication skills of mankind. It is essential for social beings to come to terms with others around them and exchange their ideas and opinions and demands and necessities with a view to ensuring purpose of living. Man has learned to communicate through language, speech and gestures and such activities in total have been termed as elocution. This short article is to introduce elocution topics and ideas.
Communication primarily involves language and its use, ways of expression and use of parts of human physique to add values to the expressions. The study of elocution, English elocution to mention here, has a vivid history. The study which includes grammar, diction, pronunciation and style in the delivered speech has been considered as a basic discipline in the rhetoric of the Western classics. Two Roman senators, Brutus and Antony by name, are found to deliver excellent speeches with extra-ordinary expertise in oratory in Julius Caesar of William Shakespeare. This indicates that orators have had an honorable status in the society.
Lectures on Elocution (1762) and Lectures on Reading (1775) of Thomas Sheridan and Elements of Elocution (1781) of John Walker contain instructions on reading from literary passages loudly and on gestures, dictions, control over voice and stress on syllables etc. Since then elocution has been included in the curriculum of the school. By the middle of the nineteenth century texts naming ‘New Juvenile Speaker’, ‘The Star Speaker’ and a few more by McGuffey have been published in the U.S.A.
Elocution begins to verify if the words are pronounced in exactitude with the right intonation, tone, diction and gesture. Elocution demands that the speaker must be smart and self-confident with no hint of nervousness. It demands clear, correct and steady pronunciation. The person delivering a speech must stand straight and utilize his eyes and pout in order to impress the audience. Teachers should suggest students to stand before a mirror while delivering a speech and provide them with tape recorders in the elocution classes so that the learners can identify their mistakes and use corrective measures.
Elocution topics for children are selected from the glorious treasure of English literature and also from enormous resources of everyday life. In many schools students are encouraged to read daily news and to hear the news-reader of the radio station or of the television channel as these are live examples of excellent elocution skills.
Elocution competitions are really interesting. Sometimes the contestants get topics a few days before the day of competition and they use the period to prepare for the competition. While other times they learn the topics immediately before the start of the competition. The topics may be from ‘your first day in the school life’ to ‘take a class where your students are the dinosaurs’. Recent topics are ‘waiting lion cubs as their mother is killed by poachers, how to fight terrorism, how to sanctity a society etc.
The world has become a large village thanks to the great communication revolution in the recent decades. The immediate result of it has been experienced in the form of increase in exchanges and interactions among the people of different regions and this has created greater demand the soft skill of elocution in individuals.