I have been traveling a lot lately.  And when I do, I listen carefully to radio and television, and of course, the locals! And each time I travel, I have to say – wow! A bit of an eye-opener.

I’m not being cynical or nasty about language, I’m just noting the differences (duh) – trust me I love hearing English pronounced properly. Question is: what is “proper”? While the English claim it is their way, I need to point out a few things, but I will do it in a fair way:

  • Canadians say: “Tor – on – o”, instead of “Tor-ont-o”.
  • Bostonians say: “chow – da”, instead of “chowder”.
  • Americans from the south say “thar”, instead of “there”.
  • And the English, at least from what I heard, do not pronounce the “t” at the end of the word. It’s “wha”, instead of “what”! LOL!!!

Anyway, there are numerous examples, so no sense in going on about it. And I’m not trying to offend my non-Canadian friends and loved ones. However, I’ve often find myself in fun debates about our language or “pronunciation” differences. The point is this, if I pronounced every single “t” in every single word (like the English), people here would laugh at me or think I have a screw loose – so I conform to the norms of my society. Doesn’t everyone?

Meanwhile, I often struggle understand people in the UK. But wait? That’s where MY language originated!  So, what’s the problem then? Well, because to actually hear “t” pronounced throughout a word properly, can make it sound like an entirely new word at times! Ridiculous I know. (Either that or my hearing is starting to go ;-)!)

So what IS proper English? Do we need to pronounce every single vowel and consonant? Clearly, it’s not necessary nor a requirement to survive in our respective societies. However, it does make people “tune in” when you have an accent! And they have a ‘go’ at you for the way you say things.

But it raises the issue of having to teach oneself to really pay attention when a voiceover must be recorded for an international audience. I recently had to do a project targeted at an international audience. I have to say it was tough for me. I think that my pronunciation and command of the English language is pretty darn good. The thing is, it’s pretty darn good in my immediate surroundings and into the U.S. market. However, I really have to work at it, pronouncing “t”, not blending words together, etc. – and I’m happy to do it and I can do it. But traveling is good reminder about clear communication – for all!

Thanks to the people I’ve met and listened to in my travels! You opened my eyes a little more. But I will continue to not pronounce “t” in the middle of a word at least when I’m at home, sorry “aboot” that!