On March 6th, we had the chance to listen to Damian O’Connell’s speech. His British accent really made me listen to the speech carefully. I focused on how he uttered every single word since we hardly see native people around us as Turkish students. So, it was a great chance to know and listen to him. In the very beginning of his speech, he made us watch a video about a guy whose speaking can be barely understood because he was speaking too fast and he was swallowing some words. Then Damian talked about why he made us watch the video. He taught him -the speaking guy in the video was Damian’s cousin- how to speak fluently and “normally”. After the video, he made us think of “our bedroom”. He said go to your room, close the door etc. He said only you can go there and remember it quite vivid. He did this because he was trying to teach us what he called the “third eye”. The third eye, as far as I have understood, is something to do with our memory and brain. The way he taught and explained was pretty interesting. After a while he showed us a table describing the phonetic alphabet. Before his speech, I did not understand the phonetic alphabet’s importance, but to speak accurately, to utter words as natives do, one must need to know this alphabet. It really helps you understand. For instance, as Turkish people, we really have hard time when it comes to ‘th’ sound. Like this, he clearly explained many other sounds.
Also, he was really good-humored, making us laugh several times. It was an interactive speech, he asked several questions to us, inviting some people to the stage and he walked around the hall all the time. It was fun watching and listening to him and also it was educative.
Rana Zengingönül, Senior student
Çankaya University Translation and Interpreting Studies Department