Enunciation is the act of pronouncing words clearly. You might be surprised how very few can do this properly.
Last night I watched a BBC production called “The Favourite” and while I found it entertaining, I struggled mightily to understand the actors’ lines.
The main characters were Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz as Lady Sarah and Emma Stone as Abigail Masham. Coleman and Weisz are British born while Stone is American, but they all managed to be almost totally incomprehensible to American ears… at least my Franco-American ears.
I always had a good ear for foreign languages and I thought that I had a decent command of the Bard’s language, but after last night I am starting to wonder.
“HOSTESS. Oh, nonsense! She speaks English perfectly.
NEPOMMUCK. Too perfectly. Can you shew me any English woman who speaks English as it should be spoken? Only foreigners who have been taught to speak it speak it well.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion
I tend to agree with you George. A lot of English people tend to stutter or mumble. Even the Royals… In a perfect world, all English nationals should speak like Masterpiece characters… but unfortunately, they don’t. They talk more like comic relief foreigners.
Today, being able to read and write is not enough. Every school kid, and particularly every asylum seeker, should be compelled to take speech lessons to learn how to enunciate properly. If they didn’t, they should become Untouchables.
Granted, English spoken by British and American people is different, but everybody should speak clearly. Regardless if you hail from Australia, England or America, every syllable should be pronounced.
I find this lack of clarity particularly galling, especially when having a phone conversation. Incidentally, I think that somebody could make a fortune by creating a “speech correction app”. Regardless of your origins, each time you would use a phone your voice would sound like Demosthenes. Wouldn’t be great?
My beef with deficient speakers might have a bit to do with a diminishing auditory capability but I stand by my claim. Use enunciation properly and get a 10% discount on everything you buy from me.
I have an unmitigated love for foreign movies. Be it from Sweden, Argentina, Italy, Israel, Poland, etc. all exotic films are consumed with equal relish. Even though I don’t speak Swedish, Spanish or Hebrew, I am plenty satisfied with closed captions. It beats mumbling anytime.
are at the forefront of modern visual art, and when I become President, subtitles will be used everywhere… especially in these darn British productions.
Back me up, Make Enunciation Great Again!