Level Three. What to say?

By Michelle Lloyd.

Enunciation was imperative for good pronunciation. It was all fair and well to say that, but putting the philosophy into practice was something else entirely.

The subject of speech was one that had been focused on rather a lot lately and RV found that he was being split in several directions over it. Why pronounce a word this way or that, when he heard so many variations on a theme?

Regional pronunciation was acceptable, it even added something to a place’s cultural heritage. RV strongly felt that he should be allowed a little leeway in how he got his words out at school, but not the case was this in his class, as each time that he lapsed in his linguistic lingo the teacher would without fail pull him up on it.

Pronounce it well, pronounce it right! This phrase had been hammered home often enough. RV though, felt that he could not commit himself entirely to the subject.

There was a lot to learn about pronunciation and RV, who came from a mixed cultural background, felt that he owed loyalty to all directions of the spectacular speech divide. He wanted to be faithful to the language of his grandparents that he loved, to be obedient for the objectives of his class rules and be understood as compatible with his fellow pupils when they abbreviated and obliterated certain well known words! It was a complicated compilation and RV wanted to get all of it right.

At school, trying to keep everybody satisfied was extremely tough and RV started to fall back in his language class. It got so bad that RV felt he had to make it clear that he was being pulled in several schools of thought.

One afternoon he started to feel the pressure build and build…all he could hear were varying words and the appropriate pronunciations according to each category of  school, home or friends. He felt his breath becoming shallow, his thoughts muddle and in the end he felt enough was enough.

That afternoon RV got up and in front of the same teacher who felt pronunciation was pivotal to education, he spoke up and spoke proud. He let everybody know how to pronounce the words they had been practising in English class in his grandparent’s tongue and how he felt being adept at talking in his down time did not mean that he had forgone the lessons of language that he had learnt at school. Each part of his language meant something to him and be it in his swift lilt of his home spoken language or the more formal specific elocution he used at school, each bit of the final product had a meaning to his identity.

The applause from the entire class spoke volumes. The smile from the teacher sent RV’s feeling of pressure right away and more relaxed, he settled into being better understood about what his language meant to him and those around him.