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Friday, October 29, 2010

Sure as little apples how we pronounce H will provide a field day for how we read each other.

The recent BBC-reported and British Library-inspired discussion about whether we use “atch” or “haych” in our linguistic repertoire will be stimulating heated discussions all over the country. Language changes, the issue is whether it is evolutionary or otherwise.

Perhaps the sustained showing of television soaps, with their emphasis on vowels rather than consonants has brought about a fundamental change in our language. It brings into focus many of the prejudices and stereotypes we have about class, education and status. Sociolinguistics, schools, families and employers will have a field day over this confection.

In an increasingly competitive world for jobs, contracts, sales or votes, how we speak can have a disproportionate impact on success or otherwise. How many of us like our taped voice? When 93% of our first impressions are gained from how we look and how we use our voice, more attention should be paid to how we speak. When Shakespeare noted that “the apparel oft proclaims the man”, he should have added verbal dexterity.

I am working with three corporate business clients at the moment. It is interesting to see that in each case, much more attention is being paid to the presentational skills of their employees as they pitch, bid and tender. Schools and colleges don’t seem to give you a qualification in how you speak, but if they did, future applicants for jobs would certainly have the edge over the competition.