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Take the gym sock out of your mouth and say that again, dammit! Login/Join
 
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Picture of Chris J. Strolin
posted
(Suggested entry for the OEDILF: )


affliction

I am firm in my honest conviction
That people who have lousy diction
Are of no earthly use.
They should not reproduce!
They're a blot! An outrage!! An affliction!!!


I strongly feel that the English language, while certainly not perfect, is a beautiful thing. As such, I find it particularly galling when I am forced to listen to people who sound as if their mouths were still half asleep. Hell, I have better diction when I've just come straight from the dentist and the Novocaine* hasn't yet worn off!

I'm sure this pet peeve is not mine alone. Have any of the rest of you found effective ways of dealing with this problem? I try to lead by example but you can't make people follow.


* a post script - I just looked up Novocaine to make sure I had spelled it correctly and discovered that it's an official trademark. Hmmm... Didn't know that.
 
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Picture of shufitz
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"I find it particularly galling when I am forced to listen to people who sound as if their mouths were still half asleep. Hell, I have better diction when I've just come straight from the dentist and the Novocaine* hasn't yet worn off!"

Great concept, but imperfect implementation, CJ. Isn't what you refer to called a matter of enunciation, not diction?
 
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Picture of Richard English
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Quote "...I'm sure this pet peeve is not mine alone. Have any of the rest of you found effective ways of dealing with this problem? ..."

I just say, "...I'm sorry, would you say that again...?" as many times as I find it necessary.


Richard English
 
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Picture of Chris J. Strolin
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quote:
Originally posted by shufitz:
Great concept, but imperfect implementation, CJ. Isn't what you refer to called a matter of _enunciation,_ not _diction?_

Hey! No critiquing of limericks allowed! (joke)

Well, yes, I suppose...

I looked up "diction" in Dictionary.com and found the first definition to be "Choice and use of words in speech or writing."

DAMN! That sinks the limerick! I've always used "diction" and "enunciation" fairly interchangeably but the distinction is (pardon the redundancy) distinct and worth observing.

The second definition, however, was "Degree of clarity and distinctness of pronunciation in speech or signing; enunciation."

AHA! It works! Just not as well as I had thought...

When the time comes, I'll add a note of clarification to this entry. I'd change "diction" to "enunciation" but that's just too damn many syllables.


Good call though, Shu. Thanks.
 
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Picture of shufitz
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No problem, CJ. My question was about words, not about limericks, and it's an interesting one, isn't it? What you posted was news to me; I hadn't known that 'diction' can be used to mean enunciation.

But isn't that an impoverishment of our language? We have a term ('enunciatiation') to refer to whether you are precise or sloppy in your pronunciation of words. But we have no term to refers unamiguously to whether you are precise or sloppy in your selection of words -- because the term for that concept also covers the former concept. If you use that term, you must explain which meaning you intend.

But getting back from this digression I agree wholeheartedly with your original point.
 
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Here's an alternative that substitutes enunciation for diction, and preserves the sense of elitism in Chris's original (while blunting somewhat the call for extinction... ;-)

affliction

From those with poor enunciation,
I pray for an emancipation.
They are an affliction
Of linguistic friction
Their sloppiness lowers their station.
 
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There is, of course, the issue of people with speech impediments, but I assume we're just talking about slackness of speech in general.

Thomas Menino, mayor of Boston, has been tagged with the nickname "Mumbles", due to his speech sounding like he's got marbles in his mouth. I assume he's not doing this by choice, but the effect is subtle enough that one is tempted to attribute it to laziness as opposed to some physical cause.

I suspect this is a reflection of the fairly common predilection humans have for attributing less desirable personal traits to moral failures as opposed to causes out of our control.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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* a post script - I just looked up Novocaine to make sure I had spelled it correctly and discovered that it's an official trademark. Hmmm... Didn't know that.

Drugs have 3 names, the trade name (thus the trademark), the chemical name (don't go there!) and the generic name. It makes learning pharmacology all the more trying for medical and nursing students!

Having recently spoken to CJ on the phone for the first time, I must say, he has exquisite enunciation and diction. Smile

Shu, realistically, shouldn't we use the first definitions from the dictionary for precisely that reason? I just hate it when someone refers to the eighth or ninth definition of a word. At the very least, the person should say, "by diction, I am referring to 'enunciation.'" But then, you know me, a literalist at heart! Roll Eyes

Eric does make a good point, too. The president of our board 2 years ago had a terrible speech impediment. One almost wondered how she got as far as she did, but the fact is, she is very successful.
 
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Picture of Richard English
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Quote "...Shu, realistically, shouldn't we use the first definitions from the dictionary for precisely that reason? I just hate it when someone refers to the eighth or ninth definition of a word..."

It's a fine idea but one that is doomed to failure in practice. Oftentimes words have several meanings, some of which are of quite equal importance. For example, who would care to decide which of the OED's 36 transitive verbal meanings of "set" was the one to be used?

In the case of the OEDILF project, this variation in meanings could perhaps allow for the use of some of the duplicated Limericks we are seeing.


Richard English
 
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Going back to the original limerick, I think it works whether "diction" refers to choice/use of words or enunciation, as I find both equally annoying. The former more so, perhaps, as I find myself turning white with rage when I hear people (who I know are intelligent enough to do better) mangling our language for no reason other than laziness. And as for "text speak" (bad enough on a mobile, but understandable given the limited character space) spreading to e-mails - well, this is a family board so I'll say no more...
 
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Quote "...And as for "text speak" (bad enough on a mobile, but understandable given the limited character space)..."

Maybe the answer is to include voice recognition software on a mobile. That would save composition time and errors. Then, include speech synthesis so that the recipient could hear the message and thus avoid any of the problems implicit in reading such small screens.

The sender could then just speak into the mobile and the receiver just listen to it.

Now wait a minute - there's a flaw in this scenario somewhere. I just can't put my finger on it...


Richard English
 
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LOL! Smile Big Grin Wink wish id fort ov dat
 
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Picture of jheem
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realistically, shouldn't we use the first definitions from the dictionary for precisely that reason? I just hate it when someone refers to the eighth or ninth definition of a word.

Well, if it's going to be the OED in limerick form, then there should be as many limericks per word as there are definitions in the original OED. Fair's fair, and what's the use of a dictionary if it only lists one of the many meanings of a word? This ain't the 17th century, you know.

Now, I have to get to work on limericks for tolerance and speech impediment. NM TTFN.
 
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Alright, alright, jheem. I was wrong about the one definition; I admit it. I'll get out of the 17th Century! Roll Eyes

However, I must say something here about enunciation because I am getting defensive. There are some words that I just can't say correctly, try as I might. For example (and Shu will validate this, I am sure), I have the hardest time with "turret" and "tour." I have no idea why, but they just don't come out right. Then there is "bagel." My kids say that I say that word differently than anyone they know. And, I have talked about "croissant" before...though with that word at least I have the excuse that it's French.

It's not that I don't try. I would think other people might have the same problem.

Now, "diction" is a whole other concept, and that probably relates more to your knowledge of words. This board has helped me with that! Smile
 
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It's not that I don't try. I would think other people might have the same problem.


Sorry if I flustered you. That's what I was trying to get about in a round about way. You're not lazy or stupid or have a mouthful of gym sock, you just have trouble with some sounds in your native language. How do you do with other words with an r in it?
 
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How do you do with other words with an r in it?
I think okay; it seems to be only certain ones. And, it really isn't only those 2 words; those were just examples. It's definitely French words, and it seems to be words with 2 vowels. I don't think it is a speech impediment as much as it is a processing impediment, if that's even possible.

The point is, though, one really must consider the situation before making judgements about someone's enunciation.
 
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Kalleh and Jheem, your last couple of posts prompted me to read the thread again, and I really don't think anyone was blasting people who have genuine speech problems. Without going into details, I get tired very easily, and one occasional effect of this is that I can slur my words, sometimes to the point of appearing drunk. But on reading this thread I didn't think for a second that anyone was referring to me or people in similar speech situations - rather to those who definitely have the ability but can't be bothered.

I completely agree though, Kalleh, that one should always consider an individual situation and get the bigger picture before making assumptions - or worse, judgements - and that applies to anything.
 
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