Teachers' blog


【The Voice of Stentor】

(Contributed by Ben)
In Ancient Greece, there was a man called Stentor, who had a VERY LOUD VOICE. Legend tells us that Stentor could be heard from many miles away. His voice was as loud as fifty voices, so he was very good at encouraging Greeks in battle. He would shout encouragements, and everyone on the battlefield would hear them. He died in a shouting competition with the only louder person: Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods.
Very few people remember the history of Stentor, but his name is still sometimes used. If someone has ‘a stentorian voice’ it means their voice is very loud and clear, and carries authority. Before the invention of microphones, it was very useful for politicians and lawyers and to have stentorian voices, so they could give speeches to crowds. A ‘stentorian orator’ is someone who uses oratory (the skill of public speaking) in a very loud and clear way.
I know a few people who have very loud voices. Most of them fall into two categories:
Firstly, all my friends from America are wonderfully loud. It’s great to hear their enthusiasm, but I do sometimes need to shush my friends if they’re talking very loud late at night – I don’t want them to wake up my neighbours! British people can be loud too, but not in the same full-bodied way.
Secondly, actors. I studied creative writing, and so I met a lot of actors who were studying the acting course at the same college. You could always tell if there was an actor in the library, because of their booming voices. Stage actors are trained to ‘project’ their voices – to speak in a way that carries a long distance, without losing its clarity. Unfortunately, once they learn this skill, they carry it with them everywhere.
Speaking loudly is a very useful talent. It’s a good way to get noticed, and get your point across, without the aggression of shouting. You can be assertive and successful if you have a stentorian voice – but remember to use your ‘inside voice’ at night!

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