КіноКава: The King's Speech

Download a lesson The King's Speech (pdf)

The King's Speech is a historical drama directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an Australian speech and language therapist. The men become friends as they work together, and after his brother abdicates the throne, the new King relies on Logue to help him make his first wartime radio broadcast on Britain's declaration of war on Germany in 1939.

1. Warm-up questions.
  1. Do you like speaking in public?
  2. How do you feel when you have to speak in public?
  3. When was the first time you had to speak in public? How did you feel? Did it go well?
  4. Can you remember an occasion when you spoke in public and it went well? Why did it go well?
  5. How do you prepare for speaking in public?
  6. What advice would you give to someone who has to speak in public for the first time?
  7. Do you know anyone who is a really good public speaker? What makes them such a good speaker?
  8. Are there any politicians who you think are good speakers? What makes them good speakers?
  9. Have you ever had to speak in English in public? How did you feel?
  10. How would you prepare for speaking in English in public?

2. Characters.

 Bertie  King George V’s second son who suffers from a speech disorder
 Lady Elizabeth  Bertie’s supportive wife
 Lionel Logue  A speech therapist and a failed actor
 Myrtle Logue  Wife of Lionel Logue
 King George V  The British King and father of Bertie and David
 Prince David  King George V’s oldest son who is in love with Wallis Simpson
 Wallis Simpson  An American woman who is dating Prince David
 The Archbishop  An advisor to the royal family and the leader of the Church of England
 Winston Churchill  A leading member of the British Parliament

Episode 1: Yesterday

Bertie (soon to be King George VI) meets Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, for the first time.

1. Active vocabulary (part I, 00:00-38:44).

 1. Stammer:  a. The fear of public speaking.
 b. The ability to give great speeches.
 c. A speech disorder that causes a person to pause while speaking.
 2. "My turf":  a. Slang term for the space between your toes.
 b. Territory belonging to someone.
 c. A special couch used by doctors.
 3. Discretion:  a. To destroy.
 b. Not revealing private information.
 c. Ignoring your responsibilities.
 4. Unorthodox:  a. Dangerous.
 b. Embarrassing.
 c. Breaking away from tradition.
 5. A physician  a. A physical education teacher.
 b. A doctor.
 c. An advisor to a king.
 6. A defect  a. An old fashioned radio.
 b. An error or imperfection.
 c. A very strong fear of something.
 7. Flawlessly:  a. To complete a task over a long period of time.
 b. To be difficult to understand.
 c. To do something without any mistakes.

2. Discuss the meaning of the words below and use them in the sentences.

worship / haughty / nervous / impatient / magnificent / fancy / elegant / poised / frantic / tacky / stammer / impediment / sublime / shilling / wager

3. Choose the correct word(s) to complete each of these statements.
  1. Lionel's son is named:
  2. a. Willy b. Paul c. James d. Colin

  3. What pseudonym did Bertie and Elizabeth use?
  4. a. The Smiths b. The Johnsons c. The O'Briens d. The Franks

  5. How did Bertie want to be addressed?
  6. a. Your King b. Your Highness c. Your Majesty d. Your Prince

  7. How old was Bertie when he started to stammer?
  8. a. 3 years old b. 4 years old c. 13 years old d. 14 years old

  9. Where is Lionel from?
  10. a. England b. Australia c. Canada d. the United States

Episode 2

Lionel and Bertie prepare for the coronation.

1. Discuss the meaning of the words below and use them in the sentences.

coronation / throne / Royal Highness / defective / cue cards / saddle / crown

2. Watch the episode and decide who said the line:

a. Bertie b. Lionel c. Elizabeth d. Lang

 1. "You've saddled this country with a voiceless King!"  
 2. "Impressive armchair!"  
 3. "My concern is for the head on which I place the crown?"  
 4. "I's easy. Four short responses, kiss the book, sign the papers".  
 5. "No training, no qualifications, just a great deal of nerve!"  
 6. "It looks very beautiful, doesn't it".  

3. Explain the meanings of the following slang expressions.

 1. to pop by  
 2. to pop these on  
 3. strong suit  
 4. my turf  
 5. hubby  
 6. stare it square in the eye  
 7. stared square in to his father's face  

4. Match the following words to their definitions.

 1. stammer (v)  a) Directly in the eye or face
 2. discretion (n)  b) Perfectly; with no mistakes
 3. unorthodox (adj)  c) A try-out for a play or performance
 4. to pop by (v)  d) To quickly stop by a place
 5. my turf  e) To bet
 6. strong suit  f) A medical doctor
 7. square in the eye/face  g) Work where the employee works in exchange for benefits such as travel and housing. The employee can't leave the contract.
 8. indentured servitude  h) A dark, bottomless hole
 9. inane (adj)  i) A speech disorder that causes a person to pause while speaking
 10. audition (n)  j) Not revealing private information
 11. approach (n)  k) To make others pleased with something
 12. physician (n)  l) An imperfection or flaw
 13. to commence (v)  m) Breaking away from tradition
 14. defect (n)  n) My territory
 15. impediment (n)  o) To start, to begin
 16. flawlessly (adv)  p) An obstacle
 17. to wager (v)  q) A coin used in the UK worth 1/20 of a pound
 18. to ingratiate (v)  r) A method
 19. schilling (n)  s) To force some to do something with fear and threats
 20. to intimidate (v)  t) A person’s strengths
 21. abyss (n)  u) Stupid, silly
 22. awkward (adj)  v) Another word for a company or business
 23. invariably (adv)  w) Another word for "always"
 24. firm (n)  x) Describes something uncomfortable or embarrassing
 25. appreciate (v)  y) A way of doing things
 26. method (n)  z) To value something
 27. immoral (adj)  
 28. divorced (adj)