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December 17, 2010

The King's Speech

The end of December is always a great time to see movies on the big screen. There are always many new releases and many film-makers want their film to be in the running for...

...the Oscar nominations in the spring.

The King's Speech is just now being released around the world. The King's Speech has already been nominated for several Golden Globe awards. The film features many of my favorite actors: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and the incomparable Helena Bonham Carter among many others.

Here's a brief plot summary: after the death of his father King George V and the abdication (for marrying an American divorcee) of his older brother King Edward VIII, Prince Albert, Duke of York, who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, suddenly becomes King George V. With the rumblings of yet another world war, and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother) arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist. After an awkward beginning, the two develop an unorthodox - but effective - course of treatment and eventually form an bond of friendship and mutual respect. With the support of his speech tutor, his family, his government and Winston Churchill, the new King overcomes his stammer and delivers a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them for the troubles facing them all.

Besides ESL, I also teach public speaking. Even for the best of us, public speaking can be intimidating - imagine dealing with a speech impediment with a role like a king in a time of national conflict.

There is perhaps no single act as fear producing as giving a speech in public. Mastering one's own fears under such circumstances is truly heroic.

I highly recommend this film. As one prominent reviewer put it, "You’ll be lost for words."

You can see the film trailer here - http://kingsspeech.com/.

Send us any links or other resources that you think any teachers, students or even just normal people might find interesting or useful. Let us all know about words that make you crazy, aspects of language and expression you find challenging, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf is currently a radio host (http://www.tacoma.fm/) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/ and would love to do either one of those somewhere else in the world next year.

Posted by mmorf at December 17, 2010 08:31 PM

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