Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

-enunciation-53098Today I'd like to discuss enunciation. Years ago, I was asked to speak at a Lion's Club meeting. I don't remember the topic, maybe my trip to Mexico in 1988. Anyway, I sat in front of the crowd and started mumbling. Somebody told me to stand up and speak up. So I did.

Since then, I've been speaking in public for various reasons. Either to attract people to the martial arts club or discussing my books. Each time is a learning experience and a chance for me to work on my speaking skills.

When I was a broadcaster for WKEI/WJRE in Kewanee, Illinois (self-proclaimed Hog Capital of the World, but don't get me started on the city water) I had to enunciate to be understood by the tens of fans listening. (Seriously. When I would conduct contests, I could wait an hour for 'the tenth caller' to call in to win.)

Broadcasting sports was fun. The Wethersfield Flying Geese was the other township in Kewanee, colors green and white. I had to be able to pronounce players' names and coherently discuss the football or basketball game before me. I never messed up a football game (and that's saying something for a guy who never played football and barely knew the positions, let alone what play they were running), but I did mess up twice when doing basketball. One time it was enunciation and the other was a faux pas. (Ask me about them next time you see. They're funny as hell.)

Anyway, I've listened to myriad television and radio voices throughout the year and I've tried to improve my speaking voice. I admit, I have a problem with speaking too quickly to be understood. Especially when reading material to critique groups. I have to consciously slow down and realize that I'll have time to read, that nobody is going to hurry me.

I mention this topic, because I think good speaking is important to authors and those who speak for a living, i.e. radio personalities. I think it lends credibility to the individual.

Which is why I'd like to point out two examples of where enunciation is a glaring problem. Sure, everybody fumbles over words. I understand and most can make a nice recovery. It's when I don't think the person knows he/she has said something wrong that I have an issue.

I love WHO Radio. I enjoy the shows and the personalities. God bless Jan and hurry back because we miss you. There are two personalities who need to work on slowing down and enunciating a word. The first is one of the weather forecasters. I've listened many times to her forecasts and she completes the weather with the standard, “This is the 1040 WHO three day weather forecast, I'm meterologist ____”

No, that's not a typo. That's what she says she is, a meterologist. As I said, I've listened dozens of times and it's always the same thing. She doesn't take the time to add the extra syllable to be correct. She's a meteorologist.

The other is a guy who has memorized the script he rattles off the closing line too fast. Everybody else says, “This is the 1040 WHO three day weather forecast...” It's understandable and you can hear every single word in its entirety. However, there this guy who says, “This is the 1040 WHO three d weather forecast...”

Just the D sound, not day.

Why do I seemingly pick on these two people? Because as a speaker I have to watch my words. I have to be understood by the public. Hec, to be a broadcaster, you have to send in an audition tape. Which means people will hear you say words.

What's happened here? Years of broadcasting has made people lax in their words. These examples are two that have bothered me.

What have you heard mispronounced or garbled?

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