Why the Detail Model Had to Go

(Roots, part III) The teaching of any prescriptive speech pattern as some sort of basis or ‘neutral’ will inevitably encode privilege and elitism, alienate actors from nonstandard speech backgrounds, and actively impede the acquisition of accurate and detailed perception and the ability to subtly adapt one’s own speech and accent.     It’s been a ridiculous fourteen months since I last posted. Even worse, at the end of that post, I teased the next part of the story, promising to write soon about Why the Detail Model Had to Go. Better late than never, I suppose. This is that post. […]

Oh, those wandering GOATs

I think it’s high time we stopped representing the So-Called General American GOAT phoneme as /oʊ̯/.  I don’t think it can be very controversial to suggest that [oʊ̯], phonetically-speaking, would be a very unusual vowel to hear from most American speakers in 2012.  The only Americans who come close to a fully-rounded [o] in realizing this phoneme are from what dialectologists call the North Central dialect region—the Dakotas, Minnesota, Michigan’s UP, and parts of Wisconsin, Montana & Iowa.  (We might also add Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley, where Sarah Palin hails from—much of which was settled in the 1930s by transplants from […]


Today we celebrate the hardy souls that have completed the first-ever Knight-Thompson Speechwork Certification Course. Those of you who have done a six-day workshop can, perhaps,  imagine the kind of focus and stamina it took to keep at it for three weeks. Please join us in congratulating them on their hard work! Dudley & Phil Andrea Caban  Now based in Southern California, Andrea is an actor, writer, producer, private voice and speech coach, and a New York Innovative Theatre award-winning solo artist. She has performed her solos shows regionally and abroad (at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Intimate Theater in Cape Town, […]


This is just a short post to say ‘Welcome!” to our first-ever certification group. It was fourteen years ago that I joined the first Fitzmaurice Voicework Certification class. It seems impossibly long ago, and yet I remember the people, and the feeling of palpable anticipation so vividly. Dudley taught the Speech sequence and introduced the idea of Omnish in what must have been one of its earliest iterations. I completely misunderstood the assignment, and went home and wrote out in detailed phonetic transcription my Omnish oration. Fortunately, I quickly realized that I had made a misstep and quietly shoved my […]

Where to start?

Stephanie Philo as Titus Andronicus – 2008       photo by Paul Kennedy “What fool hath added water to the sea?” -Titus Andronicus The prospect of launching a blog, of adding a few drops of virtual ink to the ocean of words, is daunting.There are wonderful blogs about speech and phonetics, about accents, and acting, and a whole range of interesting topics, outside of this narrow range of specialization. So why would Dudley and I want to put our oar in? It is true that both of us have been known to have opinions, and we hope to use […]