BSI E-Book Excerpt

Diction Makes a Difference


Diction Makes a Difference


Diction means pronunciation, articulation, or an old term, elocution. A person with excellent diction speaks clearly to the listener, who can understand his message easily. People who are more educated usually have better diction, possibly from having heard it more from their teachers. Great diction commands respect. People expect professionals and leaders to speak clearly and may respect them less if they do not.

British English vs American English

Many people in other countries such as India learn British English. British English and American English have some different pronunciations, both of specific words and individual sounds. Schedule is spoken as SHEDule in British English, but SKED-ule in American English. Process is PROcess in British English, but PRAH-cess in the American version. (Project, prostate, and other nouns beginning with PRO which are root words and do not have endings on them are usually pronounced as PRAH in American English instead of as PRO.)

The stress may be placed on different syllables. In British English, for example, laboratory is spoken with the stress on the 2nd syllable, while in American English, the stress is on the first syllable and the first o is not spoken at all. In fact, in many multi-syllabic words where the second syllable has minimal stress, it is omitted when the word is spoken. Other examples of this are different (pronounced DIFF-rent), vegetable (VEG-tahbull), restaurant (RES-trant), and comfortable (COMF-tah-bull). Other examples are evening, drapery and cholesterol.