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Book Review: Strictly Speaking Pronunciation Made Simple

Our Book Reviews will from today be a regular feature of our blog. The aim is to encourage and support personal and business development especially by creators and entrepreneurs through the highlighting of useful resources.

We look forward to getting your feedback and kindly send us your book recommendations.

"In Nigeria… although the country has over 500 languages, the official language is English. The real challenge, however, is that the major Nigerian languages, as we know them, have far fewer vowels and consonants than the English language and, consequently, several of the sounds of English do not exist in our local languages. Speaking English correctly therefore becomes not just a matter of knowing and utilising grammatical principles accurately but also a matter of knowing the correct pronunciation of each unit of speech.” From Bimbo Oloyede’s Strictly Speaking Pronunciation Made Simple

In her debut publication, Strictly Speaking Pronunciation Made Simple, Bimbo Oloyede, one of Nigeria’s highly acclaimed broadcast professionals draws on over 43 years of experience as a practitioner and trainer to present what she has described as a “verbal toolkit” for improving oral communications in the English language.

This book is clearly therefore practical in its outlook and content. Through various exercises or “vocal gymnastics,” the reader learns by doing. The aim is to inculcate the routine of practice or repetition when it comes to speaking well in English and this begins with knowing how to correctly pronounce words.

Although, the author admits that the book is not about English grammar, she carefully explains the structure of words and the use of speech sounds known as phonemes. This has been done with a sufficiently light touch in order to avoid being overwhelmingly dry or technical.

There are also concise historical accounts about the origins of the English language and its variants across the globe.

On Nigerian English, the author is of the view that while it should be viewed as an equally acceptable variant and there is a strong case for its documentation in the form of a standard dictionary, broadcast professionals in particular should only have recourse to it in limited circumstances.

Bimbo Oloyede’s passion for the art of speaking well in English shines through Strictly Speaking. It is a well-researched and thoughtfully written book and a valuable grounding in the basics.

It will undoubtedly prove to be a useful resource for all those who want to improve their public speaking skills regardless of age. Helpfully, the author has published a companion volume for children and youths, Strictly Speaking An Oral Guide for Schools and Colleges.

Both Strictly Speaking publications are available as audiobooks on CDs, which accompany each volume. This is extremely important from the perspective of meeting the needs of the time-starved or simply being inclusive with regards to the physically challenged, for example, those who have sight impairments.

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