Whenever I hear the word diction, I think of the musical Singing in the Rain. There's a scene in the movie where one of the characters, Lena Lamont, is trying desperately to loose her nasally pitched voice so she can continue to be the big time actress she had been in silent movies. No matter how hard she tries, it just won't happen for her. See for yourself.
I love this scene. I really don't know why, I just love it. It makes me laugh.
I had a diction coach, aka speech therapist, when I was five, six, maybe even until I was seven, I don't remember how long I went to her. Why did I have a speech therapist? Mmm, because I was a non-English speaking little kid trying to learn English. I am forever grateful for this part of my life. I truly feel that learning to speak English like a native speaker played a hugh part in my assimilation into American culture.
Fast forward forty nine years. Evidently, there are those who think that I have great diction skills. So much so that twice this year I've been asked to use this skill for UIL competition. (UIL, for those who are not from Texas, is the University Interscholastic League; it is the governing board of all things extracurricular, whether they be athletic or academic.) First go round was as a reader for the junior high and intermediate grades listening competition. Second time around was for the high school spelling competition. The former was pro bono, the latter actually paid me some mula, which I was not expecting. Both times required not only good diction but also speed. It was hard to speak clearly and precisely at break neck speeds, not to mention tiring, boy was I ever exhausted after the reading/listening competition!
The spelling competition was interesting and intense to say the least. I called out spelling words that I don't think anyone ever uses. I don't know though, I may be wrong, necrophasia, grenadier, and breviary might all be part of your everyday vernacular.
I enjoyed my little foray into the world of proper diction. I realized something at the same time, when I retire, I could earn a little extra on the side calling our spelling words and reading short essays. Or, maybe, I could become one of those really annoying voice over people. Hmmm, now there's a thought.