Bonnie Engel Lee's Blog (14)

Google Voice: A Free Phone Number in an Area Code of Your Choice

I just discovered (through the advice of my tech-savvy daughter) that you don’t have to put your home or cell phone number on your website for the whole world to see and use. There is a nifty new option available through Google, called Google Voice. With Google Voice you can get an assigned telephone number in almost any area code you desire. If you want a New York City area code, as I did, you get obtain one without paying for another phone line. In order to get a Google Voice account, you… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on August 18, 2011 at 6:36pm — 1 Comment

Vocal Warm-ups: To Vocalize or Not to Vocalize

There are been a lot of articles about the best way to warm up your vocal instrument. Some protocols involve a series of lip movements, tongue stretches, etc. that are performed without vocalization. Often, these are often followed up by a selection of one’s favorite tongue twisters. What we do often depends on our personal preference.

I was thinking about the parallel between vocal warm-ups used by voice actors and the “non-speech oral motor exercises” used by Speech/Language… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on January 3, 2010 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Accent Bias: Do You Have It? By the Speech Doc / Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph.D. Speech/Language Pathologist

If you’ve seen the movie, My Fair Lady, which I had a chance to see again after many years, then you have some notion of the concept of changing an accent.

Henry Higgins, played by Rex Harrison, is a linguist who places a bet with wealthy gentlemen that he can pass off Eliza Do-little (Audrey Hepburn) as a member of the upper class. When Eliza is introduced to high society at a party, a self proclaimed language expert calls her a fraud and claims that she is probably a foreigner. His… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on December 6, 2009 at 10:36pm — No Comments

TAKING CARE OF YOUR VOICE: Some Great Resources By the Speech Doc / Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph.D. Speech/Language Pathologist Member, Vasta

A frequent area of concern among voice professionals is how to take care of the instrument of your livelihood, your voice. The purpose of this blog is to share some of the excellent resources that are readily available to the everyday internet user. First of all, if you are not familiar with Edge Studio’s Talk with a Pro, you can be informed of each Tuesday night topic by subscribing to their newsletter called Voice Over Today eMagazine at and select career building. On one of… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on November 9, 2009 at 10:40pm — 6 Comments

If You Lift Weights, You Need to Read This Blog

Ever think about how weight lifting might affect your voice? If you haven't thought about the connection, I would like to suggest that you read WEIGHTS AND MEASURES in the September 15th posting of Joanna Cazden's blog called "Voice of Your Life".
Here is the link to her blog.

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on September 15, 2009 at 8:40pm — No Comments

THE VOICE ACADEMY: A Great Resource for Voice Actors

By the Speech Doc / Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph.D.

You may not know that May is Better Speech (Voice) and Hearing Month. In honor of that month, I invite you to learn more about your voice by visiting The Voice Academy. Although it is a website specifically geared to the voices of teachers, you’ll find a wealth of information for you, the Voice Actor.

To start your journey, visit

At the top of the homepage you can take a test about… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on May 12, 2009 at 7:29am — No Comments

Breath Support: Back To Basics

By Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph.D.

Good speaking depends on having enough air to speak and controlling that air. Here are two quick and easy ways to tell if you have the breath support you need to do a good job speaking.

The first test is the “SSSS” test. It involves sustaining the “s” sound as long as you can on one breath. How long you can keep the “s” sound going is a factor of size and age. Here are some general standards to which you can compare yourself and… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on January 7, 2009 at 11:07pm — No Comments

I Speak Analog. You Hear Digital

There’s an interesting article by John Higgins on the John and Muriel Higgins Home page. The article is entitled, “I Speak Analogue, You Hear Digital” and you can find it at the following link:

Check out the digital speaking test and the supra-segmentals section. The latter section relates to how pausing can change the meaning of a sentence. The article contains some good practice materials.

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on October 21, 2008 at 9:26pm — No Comments


If you live in San Francisco, you may want to attend a special conference for voice actors and singers. It's being hosted by UCSF at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. While the conference will have a medical and clinical emphasis for physicians and speech pathologists, this year, there is a one day program devoted to the needs of voice actors and singers with emphasis on keeping your voice healthy and voice coaching. You can find out more about this conference by calling (415) 476-4251 or… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on October 5, 2008 at 11:01pm — No Comments

Want to Lose or Gain a Southern Accent?

By Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph. D.

“The Speech Doc”

Do you have a “southern” drawl you’re trying to lose? Or a voice over job that requires you to use one? I just found a good website that, believe it or not, is hosted by the BBC. Here’s the link… to the article on “The Southern Drawl”.

There are too many aspects (word choice, durational changes, etc.) to address all of them here. However, I’ve included some minimal pairs (pairs of… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on August 18, 2008 at 1:53pm — 2 Comments


by Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph. D.

“The Speech Doc”

I just found a great book to help you learn a variety of accents. It’s called, Accents: A Manual for Actors. It’s by Robert Blumenfeld (2002), who has been a professional actor and a private and production dialect coach in New York City for more than 25 years. You can find his book by the ISBN number (978-0-87910-967-752995).

It contains some general principles and advice about accents including warm up exercises. There are… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on August 14, 2008 at 8:36am — 7 Comments

What American Accent do you have? Take the US Accent Test

By Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph. D.

“The Speech Doc”

Ever wonder if others can tell where you are from? Here’s a website (see below) where your responses to a test can identify what area of the US you come from (if you are honest). It’s fun and may give you some insight into the features of your own dialect. Enjoy!

If you have any voice or speech questions for the “Speech Doc”, feel free to… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on August 4, 2008 at 10:55am — 7 Comments

The Golden Rule of Intonation: Questions rise... Statements fall?

By Bonnie Engel Lee, Ph. D. “The Speech Doc”

Rising and falling intonation patterns are what make a message sound interesting. Without them, we’d be speaking with the same pitch and drive ourselves and our listeners crazy! Enter the Golden Rule of Intonation. When you ask a question, the pitch of your voice rises toward the end, usually on the final word, to express uncertainty. Your pitch falls toward the end of a statement to express certainty or the termination of an idea. The… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on August 2, 2008 at 4:38pm — 2 Comments

Ask The Speech Doc: Want to (wanuh) speak naturally? Use reduced forms!


You might be wondering what reduced forms are even though we use them every day. According to Jane Morley of the English Language Institute at Ann Arbor, these words make up nearly 60% of the spoken English in daily use. When said in isolation, most of these words have stronger forms but weaker forms are used in the context of a phrase or sentence spoken in the natural rhythm of conversation.

The words we typically “reduce” can be grouped into grammatical categories.… Continue

Added by Bonnie Engel Lee on July 11, 2008 at 6:06pm — No Comments

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