In high school, when the world was my oyster, I signed up for Esperanto and typing classes. I never became successful in any of those disciplines.
Later on, as a computer nerd, I used the keyboard intensively but I never qualified as a real typist. I am a pecker rather than a virtuoso and I am rather slow to compose any document.
A few years ago, I started this blog and had to do more typing. Since I was never proficient at it, I decided to hire a private secretary to whom I could dictate my ruminations.
After thorough research, I was able to secure the services of a certain Eliza Pruitt. She is easy on the eye, British and a stickler for accuracy. She insists on proper etiquette and precise diction.
When I need her services, I summon her this way:
Miss Pruitt, may I have a word, please?
She then steps into my office, sits in a chair, crosses her legs and signals that she is ready to receive my musings.
If I mispronounce a word though, she is too polite to interrupt me. She takes every syllable down as she hears it and what she transcribes is not always what I meant to say. I cannot blame her. It is entirely my fault. When I pronounce clearly , she transcribes faithfully everything she hears. But when I get off the road and get bogged down, she stays cool but transcribes rubbish.
Many people (myself included) mispronounce many words and we are often unaware of this. Most of our listeners take it in stride and reconstitute instantly what we meant to say. But what is pronounced clearly, is seldom misunderstood; and that’s why I prefer the classic elocution of English speakers over American ones.
Dictation is a wonderful medium. Not only does it faithfully record whatever you say, but it also forces you to improve your elocution.
If you have arthritis or if you are slightly work-shy, you can use your vocal cords instead your fingers to accomplish your task.
Be warned though, that Miss Pruitt never considers your feelings when you use her talent. She lets you know coldly, unemotionally that you are speaking improperly, and does not give a hoot about your hurt self-esteem.
Take it or leave it… and that’s the way it should be.
PS: By the way, you must have guessed that the above-mentioned miss Pruitt is not a real entity. She is a figment of my overheated imagination. In reality, it is a wonderful software application that records faithfully whatever it hears.