Have you ever had to go to speech therapy? I did. It happened in the second grade. My second grade teacher decided that it would be to my long term advantage to actually pronounce my “R’s” as though they were R’s instead of “W’s.” My contention is that I had learned this particular pronunciation from watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, in which Elmer Fudd shared my handicap.”Anybody seen that Wascaly Wabbit?”
Warner Brothers (thanks Grant) has a big law suit to fight if this happens in this decade, but alas I grew up in a decade where teachers were not questioned and Warner Brothers was not sued. In a display of conservative republican cruelty the schools expected me to do things correctly. So off to speech therapy I went.
The lessons consisted of the repetitive sounding out of sounds like this:
Ree, Riii, Row, Ruuu
My initial attempts went like this:
Wee, Wiii, Whoa, Wuuu
However there was a speech therapist right in front of my face with correction, and eventually I did learn to say my ‘R’s’. Given that both my first and last name begin with an R, this saved me many a playground beating I suppose.
A couple of days ago I posted about wanting to come back as a baseball radio announcer. Then, last night I was watching the Winter Olympics and was seized by the horror of having to pronounce all of those remarkable names if asked to announce the Olympics.
Here is a short list of the names in the Winter Olympics that would tangle even the skilled in the English language:
Tor Arn Hetland
This makes saying your ‘R’s” correctly seem like child’s play.
Still I wonder if our skilled broadcasters are actually getting all of these names right.
I have the feeling some folks in Latvia, if they happen to be watching NBC, are laughing their Latvian fannies off at the pronouncing goofs.
Quick cut to a Russian broadcaster struggling with the mouthful of English “James Smith.”
Hahmeeeezz Smeeeeth ?