Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Speak - And Ye Shall Find...

Last Sunday, NZ Herald columnist Deborah Coddington highlighted declining speech standards of tv journalists and presenters.
This is not just an on-screen problem: tv voice-overs are often guilty of sloppy duck-shun, caused by that Great New Zuld affluction, "the dark L" (or in koiwoi-speak, "the dark ul") - the result of a tight jaw and a reluctance to move mouth, tongue and lips to shape sounds.
EG: a current tv trailer enthuses about a band I thought was named after a young horse – no, it's called The Cult (koiwoi-speak = the colt). A reporter talks about the "error" we're living in...and "nuke-yu-la" bombs. We see "pitchers" of an event, sparkling "jool-a-ree", and use the pre-pregnancy tonic Elevit (koiwoi-speak = "Ulluvut"). Weather-bunnies describe foin und moild conditions in our capitol city Wullintun. But hurry, we're running behind SKED-yool (instead of SHED-yil: we do attempt to speak English here, not American!) And I was reliably informed on tv this "Chooz-die" morning, "It's 32 minutes past 7...": er, did she mean "28 to 8"?
Greg Boyd
Greg Boyed
Peter Williams
Peter Williams
Two news presenters who DO get it right are TVNZ's Peter Williams and Greg Boyed.
Radio commercials are also riddled with pronunciation errors: fault lies not only with the voice but mainly with the producer / technician. However, if their own pronunciation is lacking, they won't spot the voiceover errors...and so the problems perpetuate.
Until the late '80s, Radio New Zealand had National Speech Executives who critiqued the pronunciation of every announcer in its employ. Granted, sometimes the preferred pronunciation was TOO stuffy – this is after all NZ, not the Beeb Beeb Ceeb. Yet radio's mantra used to be: "Inform, Educate, Entertain"... there's nothing wrong with maintaining a language standard higher than that used in the local shearing shed. After all, one should be able to instantly understand what's being said in one's own country surely?
PS: - see also my 27 July 2009 post, on Koiwoi apostrophe use...

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