Mar 12, 2010

Bad Words Come Back

Sometimes bad words come back to haunt me.

I don't mean curse words. I mean when people pronounce words incorrectly. Sounds crazy doesn't it?

For example, there was an employee of mine who pronouced the word probably as "proby". That was one of a number of words in which she left out letters. Often "l", but not when it was at the beginning of words. Listening to her talk made my mouth hurt. She was the one employee who reported directly to me at work, and to make it worse when she was done talking to me about something, she would shurg her shoulders up and down two or three times.

That drove me nuts, because that non-verbal jesture means, "I'm not sure" or "I don't know", but she had just finished making a suggestion about how she wanted to do something. It had the effect of sort of scrambling everything about which we had just spoken.

I found myself doing everything I could to quickly conclude any business that we had and a avoiding talking to her at all costs. This was bad as she was my direct report.

I love words, and make a point of making sure that the "L" doesn't get dropped. It seems like bad treatment. If I were an "L", I would want to be fully included in all the words I was supposed to be in.

I know, that sounds a bit odd.

At the same time, I'm like a speech pattern sponge soaking up the speech mannerisms of those with whom I speak the most. I make great efforts of excluding speech patterns that I don't want, but they try to force their way in.

Such as the word ability which some pronounce "abilty". This time excluding the unfortunate"i".

I wonder what that means. I fear being around people with poor pronunciation. I fear that their pronunciations will take over in my brain, and I actively have to work at not allowing it. I look at the words I'm going to say, sometimes, just before I say them, and make an effort to filter out the speech patterns that I don't want.

Fortunately, for public speaking, I have a voice that I pull out and use, like some people pull out a put on a favorite sweater. For any voice work that I might do I have a narration or producer voice. When I use those I don't have to think about each word, I only think about the concept or the principal style of voice and it comes out.

I used to talk really fast with a more nasaly tone, and I worked on getting rid of that, by allowing other speach patterns to infiltrate. I like my current casual speaking voice better than the one i had as a kid.



  1. Hahahaha I do the same thing. Except that words that are pronounced incorrectly IRK me to NO END!!! :)