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The Rhythm Of Language

Each accent has a rhythm. And different languages have different rhythms. And people have different life rhythms that affect their speech rhythms. And so different writers write in different rhythms, and all texts will display rhythmic differences. 

For example it is useful with Shakespeare to seek out where he uses iambic pentameter and where not. Where does he flow with the ba boom, ba boom, ba boom of English, and where does he break from it? Why? What impact does all this have? Exploring language like this can be very revealing, and can open up performance and communication possibilities to you that you may have let die through laziness or from treating English too formally and flatly. 

Is it by chance that the ba boom, ba boom, ba boom of English shares its rhythm with that of the heart? If not, why today do we view typical English as a little lifeless or a little formal? Because we see it as the international language of business? Because we honour literacy and the written word over the spoken word? I’m not going to insist these are the reasons, but I do feel that we perhaps need to rediscover the living energy of the language and try to lay its association with rules, power and class to rest!  

Some pointers:
In general, discover the rhythm of your language and your accent, and use them.
With acting, if you are going to speak another language, discover the rhythm of the language you are going to speak.
With acting, if you are going to speak using another accent to your own, discover the rhythm of the accent you are going to speak with.
Discover which rhythm most serves you and which the words.
Have fun doing this so that you can bring your words to life! 

© Donald Woodburn


  
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