In the Beginning was the Word
It all started when I realised people had different ways of talking. I must've been about 5 years old when I realised my mom (from Birmingham, England) spoke completely differently from my dad (from Glasgow, Scotland). I remember, when visiting his mom, him having to translate for me her broad Lallans, a language variety that I'd not yet become familiar with.
The people on TV talked very differently from us too, especially the announcers and newsreaders who, at the time, spoke invariably with RP accents. The cops and robbers on the imported TV shows shouted and cursed in a variety of North American accents.
Then I started to meet friends who'd come to Birmingham from different parts of the UK and some from further afield: Jamaica, India, Pakistan.
At age 10, I had my first real opportunity to learn another language. French was then (and still is) the first foreign language schoolchildren get to 'learn'. I was baffled at how words could have gender like a person and at how there were a bunch of speech sounds I'd never heard before. My love affair with linguistics was born.
I would hop on the bus venture downtown to the largest bookstore in the city and blow my pocket money on random bilingual dictionaries and phrasebooks. I'd take them home like newly-adopted pets to add to my burgeoning reference menagerie and marvel over their writing systems and bizarre (to me) words.
Theatre & TV
I have been involved in television theatre as an actor (both in the UK and Canada) and a dialect coach, working on productions including the BBC's Black Britain, several episodes of truTV's Masterminds and theatre productions such as Shelagh Stephenson's The Memory of Water (set in Yorkshire) and Murder Weapon by Brian Clemens.
As a dialect coach, this has given me an invaluable insight into the pressures and demands that actors and directors come under when working on a production.
Me, age 12, listening to people speaking French on the Eiffel Tower, Paris
Education, Careers and Emigration
My first years of Further and Higher Education were mainly in Art & Design. After graduating with a Design Communications HND, I became a graphic designer for several companies and corporations, including Amec, the Weather Network and BBC Television.
It was the British Broadcasting Corporation that gave me my first break in voice work, allowing me to try on different accents depending on the location of the report.
After immigrating with my family to Toronto, Canada, I was inspired to become professionally trained in teaching English as Second Language, a career that fed my passion for teaching (and learning). Seeing the moment when someone makes a personal breakthrough is a high you never forget.
I love to meet people who are planning to immigrate to Canada as I have a newfound respect for them based on my own experience.
I can help them improve their score acquisition as I specialize in IELTS tutoring and accent modification, not to mention experience as an examiner for several examining bodies.