I’ve let you down by falling behind on my acting class posts. Please forgive me. It’s just that I’m struggling so hard to learn a new alphabet that I haven’t had time to write.
Yes, a new alphabet. Apparently, somebody feels the original one isn’t sufficient. So now I’m in the process of UNLEARNING the phonics I was taught to be hooked on in elementary school and relearning English based on some convoluted system called the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
How can there be two alphabets for one language? The answer is this: one is for normal communication, and the other is for those who suffer a pathological need to know what are all those crazy-looking symbols that can be accessed when you click on “insert” from your Word toolbar. (I’m talking about dohickies that look like this: ǽ and ə, even when you’re not drunk.)
In IPA, the “r” is written exactly as we know it in the standard alphabet, only the consonant is UPSIDE DOWN. “Why was it necessary to turn the letter upside down?” I asked my teacher.
He said, in a perfectly serious tone that suggested this was a logical response, “Because the right-side-up R indicates a trill in IPA.”
I’m fairly certain that learning the International Phonetic Alphabet is going to serve me about as well as has those algebra classes I took in high school. All I ever needed to know was that 10 – X + b(X + 4) = a waste of time.
As to the yoga aspect of this voice class, I’m still forcing myself into “the gynecological pose” and feeling dangerously vulnerable. And I’ve learned to hum and say phrases like, “Zoo-zoo-zoo, ze-ze-ze, za-za-za, zay,” in positions that no one I know has ever assumed while speaking.
When I demonstrated one of these embarrassing postures to my husband, he immediately dropped to his knees and playfully attacked me in a way that made me think he should be neutered.
Apparently, Hubby knows an international sign or two, too!