Middle-aged Man #2 – The Land of Counterpane
This poem was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. The poem is short and speaks for itself of an
child’s imagination running wild whilst laying sick in bed.
It is such a personal, touching poem, that I decided to
make this a challenge by attempting the author’s own voice. I thought, what if the grown-up poet, Robert
Louis Stevenson was reading this poem aloud…
The author is from Edinburgh. This is a rich, Scottish accent, where the Ts
are often dropped in place of glottal-stops and the Rs are rarely if ever
rolled. It’s more common to roll the R
just once (a tapped R). Some other
points worth noting:
“Oo” sounds is the
same as “u” sound, unlike with many English accents.
“O” sound in words like such as “coupon” would be almost
“Ea” sound in words such as ‘Head’ are pronounced “ee”.
“I” sound in words such as ‘if’ become “eh” and are very
Some heavy articulation on consonants such as ‘B’s and ‘G’s
(e.g. Burgular, Beautiful).
Finally, there is very little mouth movement,
really. The words generally have a quick
attack to start but a soft ending.
The poem (text):
Man #2 – Lazy Jack
This is a fable collected by James Halliwell Orchard
Phillips. It came from Yorkshire, and so
for this challenge I’ve decided to narrate with a yorkshire accent. See what you think about Jack. I’m not sure ‘lazy’ is quite the word for
The Yorkshire Accent:
In preparing for this role, I learned that:
“u” sounds in such words as “Chuffed” is pronounced “o”.
Words ending in an “ee” sound like ‘butty’ sound like
“Oh” sound in words such as ‘know’ is pronounced “oeh”
“Our” becames “aar”
One really good tip was from Amy Walker, who said it really
helped her accent if she tightened her lower lip. As she points out there is often a mouth
posture to unlock many of the sounds. The
lower lip does far less of the work.
For Yorkshire, the tone goes up and down quite like the
hills. Also, like the hills, the tone is
never too harsh, but is rounded and wide.
The tongue also doesn’t come to the front of the mouth as much as
Here are my references from this challenge:
The fable (text)
Fletcher, Accent Tips
Walker, Accent Tips
of Yorkshire Dialect, recorded in 1989
Post-recording thoughts – I’m pleased with the overall
narration, but some elements were still tricky, such as the word ‘head’, which
never quite fell into place. Also, I’m
discovering that when I do character voices, I fall out of the accent. Something to work on, then.
This story was written by Charles Dickens in 1850. According to Bartleby.com Dickens told a
biographer that as a child he used to wander at night about a churchyard near
their home, with his sister. This sister
died only two years before this story was written.
The text can be found on Bartleby.com
For this voice challenge I was going to work on
children’s voices, but once I completed the narration it seemed more natural to
keep the voices in the narrator’s voice.
The story itself is both and beautiful and the narrative
is the most important part. I also felt
inspired to add some mellow guitar to add an extra layer to the text.