A voice coach’s #fivewordsforCameron. Use the “schwa”: Sound cleverer. The devil’s in the detail Mr Cameron. Schwa is what happens in English to unstressed vowels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa. Cameron does it right when he speaks, it goes wrong when he reads, and it makes him sound weird.
Watch the clip in Munich. When Cameron is conversational he says a relaxed unstressed “uh” schwa sound. At around 00.10 he does it well, he’s learned it, and he sounds like a normal human being.
It’s when Cameron gets to 00.55, and he’s reading, that he says “A strategic…” as if it was an important stressed word. “A” here isn’t important to the meaning - we could work out the sentence without it. Stressing it makes Cameron sound as if he’s not in command of English speech, like a 10 year old reading in class. Not ideal for the projection of ‘global statesman” he’s going for. The solution is simple, speech-writers @julian_glover, Comms team, please teach Mr Cameron to pronounce all read unstressed “a” s with the “uh”, schwa (if you want to get all phonetic about it) sound. He will instantly sound much more in command of his first language, which given the challenges he’s facing right now, can only be a good thing.