We often talk of how important punctuation and grammar are when writing. I think this is also true of the spoken word, oration and pronunciation should be a foremost concern.
NOT, I hasten to add, for everyday conversation where colloquialisms, dialects and vernaculars colour our conversations and lives, but when the spoken word is transmitted by mainstream media.
Then, I believe, broadcasters have a duty to society to articulate, to use elocution and enunciation to the highest standard and, by doing so, enable our young to learn the wonders of well-versed dialogue, gain the ability of constructive discourse and communication.
How can we expect our young to learn to speak clearly and precisely, to acquire the ability to explain, to communicate effectively, if the denizens of our communications industry cannot do so themselves?
Personally, I do not think ‘dumbing down’ standards to accommodate those considered, in politically correct terms to be ‘less fortunate’ is the answer. This only has the effect of decreasing the overall standards, suggesting that the lowering of general values are acceptable. Which, of course, they are not.
I fear for the future.
Today, I found myself disappointed by such a badly enunciated sentence.
“…blah, blah, blah…27 year-old Emma, a Yogurt taster from Essex…. blah, blah, blah…”
Now…I have, as many of you do, a ‘writers’ mind. This is a strange and oft uncontrollable beast. One which will pick-up on tid-bits and oddities that would, for the greater part, pass most people by without causing a ripple in their lives.
But those of us who are cursed, or blessed with such a mind, will know that once this beast has focused on its intended target, once it has its victim firmly caught, there is little we can do until it has satisfied its hunger, or passions, or whatever desires need stating.
This was my situation earlier today. As soon as that sentence had been spoken my muse went into overdrive.
A quick and personal excuse (Disclaimer!): I was not watching or listening to the programme being broadcast, it was just ‘on’. My wife had switched the TV on earlier and it was playing away in the background.
So, where was I? Oh, yes my muse awakening, giving me a jolt.
Questions started to flood my head, ‘Yogurt taster’ what kind of a job was that? Was it a flavour tasting position or simply one to ensure the product was of a certain quality? Maybe this was a taste panel for R&D, for new products, new lines?
How did one get a job like that? Could I get a job like that? What qualifications, besides liking yogurt, did one need?
My muse was excited; could this be part of a plot? A Poisoning? Mass poisoning…holding corporations to ransom? Maybe the start of strange happenings in a small town… Zombie like conditions…Mmmm? My mind continued to race uncontrollably.
However, I love that word so I’ll say it again!
However! somewhere, beside my overly stimulated muse, lay a nagging doubt such a position, a job as a Yogurt taster, actually existed. Food taster, yes. But I could not believe anyone could be employed solely as a Yogurt taster.
No, I convinced myself, something was wrong. (Much to the annoyance of my muse!).
Thanks to modern technology, satellite, cable, digi-boxes etc. we are able to do so many things with ‘live’ and ‘on-air’ television which have previously been impossible. One of these is instant ‘re-wind’.
This is what I used to take the programme back to the point where the ‘voice-over’ presenter stated that Emma was a ‘Yogurt taster’ from Essex.
This time I would actually be watching and listening to the broadcast, rather than have it grumbling away in the background where only my subconscious was taking note.
Sitting too close and staring at the screen, like a six-year-old child, I pressed ‘play’. The images began to move and the narrator started to speak.
I played this section of the programme over and again, four times in total, until I was absolutely certain this version was the correct one.
“…blah, blah, blah…27 year-old Emma, a Yoga teacher from Essex…. blah, blah, blah…”
Emma was a yoga teacher and not a yogurt taster, as I had first thought.
This was not my fault, not simply me miss-hearing, it was clearly a case of shameful presentation.
I must say, in some ways I was more than a little disappointed!
I am sure, in the world of yogurt, tasters are required? although I am uncertain of what the progression of seniority may be in such a profession. Perhaps one starts with the ‘own label’ products, progressing to ‘natural’ before moving to thick ‘Greek-style’ yogurts. Maybe, an alternative route would be to delve into the technical realm of flavours, or the scientific corridor of ‘low-fat’ and ‘healthy’ options.
I guess I shall never know.
A divergent track that leads me, by some circuitous route, back to where I began this post; which is where I stated my belief that major broadcasters and, in many respects, our respective Governments, should take responsibility for the clarity and precision of language when transmitting programmes to the masses.
The above is a prime example of bad annunciation and elocution, the equivalent in my book, (note the pun!), of bad grammar and punctuation in writing.
Besides, my restless muse was unnecessarily disturbed.
Now I have to find an excuse NOT to write a novel about a wicked dairy farmer, one who decides to get his revenge on the local townsfolk by plying them with infected yogurt, thus turning them into pliable and malleable zombie-like humanoids who forever more will do the farmers bidding. Of course, as with all good pulp-fiction, there is always one young girl who hates all milk type products, regardless of flavour and consistancy. Perhaps it is she who can fight back against the forces of evil and bovine product manipulation to save the earth…or at least the local town?
That is all I am going to say on that matter!
So, until next time, enjoy your writing, even if your inspiration has been stimulated by a miss-print or badly spoken presenter. But please, please take care with your grammar. You never know when someone may read your work live on air, they may even be an ex yogurt taster venturing into a new career!
Thank you for reading, Paul.
You may like to visit my website and see what else I am writing? http://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white/books