Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Words that scare you?

Ever been scared to try out a new word that you just heard, read somewhere or found out about? You know, like pronouncing it right when you say it, when the sound rolls off your tongue?

Ive had my moments.

I was thinking about it today, and realised again (Ive realised the same thing before but never stopped to note it down), that there are SO many words that I havent really had the chance to say out loud in my life before, because - ONE - english is not the key language spoken in my house as I was growing up, - TWO - nor was it the language of the country I grew up in. I happened to learn it more so, because it was the medium of instruction and common interaction between people of differring cultures and languages at school. So technically, my exposure to the English language itself was as much as it was from school, TV, movies, songs, books and much later on, the internet. Also perhaps, from some brief interactions with Americans at my cousins school, back in the elementary/high school days.

When I hesistated before saying a word out loud today (defibrillator), I got thinking about it later (after having said it right, by the way), that this happens more often than I had realised... that I second guess my pronunciation (in the midst of which, sometimes I go wrong, and this goes on to extend the fear of saying the word to such an extent, that i would be more prone to saying it wrong than right). Also, it dawned upon me, after further instrospection, that this fear and hesitance arises from the kind of people I have grown up with/around. The culture has been one that breeds many a people, who laugh at those who make mistakes, point fingers at (literally more so when younger at school), and anyone who says something wrong is pretty much the butt of redundant jokes. Kind of ironical actually, because none of these ''ridiculers'' are native speakers of English, hence not fool proof to errors while speaking themselves. If only people could learn AND be taught to simply be kind and correct the slip/error (which btw is totally acceptable considering this is not the person's mother tongue/first language) if they know better!

Perhaps I was one of the people who used to joke too, back in school, but once my education moved on to a specification in college -Teaching English Language- I learnt how to check my diction, stress, intonations, pronunciations, and this eventually helped me become a more concious speaker, when compared to what/who I was back in school. There on, is when I unconciously began encouraging people to make mistakes, and not be afraid of learning from where they at first went wrong.

What I never did realise was that the fear of saying something wrong in public (irrespective of my audience's level of fluency), is something that I still harbour to date...

I must work of getting past this underlying -sometimes dormant sometimes rampant- fear of words, and the sound that they are supposed to make!

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