Speech Peculiarities That Make My Teeth Itch
“And … UMMMMM … if you will talk to Barb Whosits, she’ll … UMMMMM … get you a copy of that report.”
I started hearing only the “UMMMMM” and nothing else.
I don’t go to her meetings any more.
Not Just Local Yokels
The British use the term “newsreaders” to describe TV anchors. While they appear to be looking directly at you and speaking conversationally, they’re—in fact—reading from a script that’s unrolling right in front of them.
Some news people are good ad libbers. Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Tim Russert are excellent examples of flawless, extemporaneous speakers.
But one night, NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski delivered a polished analysis of the Iraq situation, which he obviously read off a TelePrompter. Brian Williams then asked follow-up questions and “Mik” started punctuating his answers with “uh.” Just about every sentence began with “uh” and frequently “uh” popped into mid-sentence as well. Miklaszewski may be a first-rate newsman, but he’s a second-rate performer.
If Jay Leno’s delivery were this poor, he’d be driving a bus rather than a classic car from his multi-million dollar collection.
Words and Phrases That Irritate the Hell out of me
When my wife, Peggy, and I moved to Philly to take over the management of Target Marketing magazine, editorial meetings came with the territory. We had a bunch of young editors that said “like” a lot.
Not an occasional “like,” but rather two and three of them per sentence. Finally, in desperation, I brought a little sterling silver bell to the office and placed it in front of me on the conference table. “This is the ‘Like Bell,’” I announced during a meeting. “Any time I hear the word, ‘like,’ I’ll ring the bell.”
The session started out with a lot of bell ringing. The habit was broken fairly quickly. “Like” is—for me—the most offensive word in the English language.