Kiwis Don’t Quack

Yesterday I picked up a copy of the ‘Herald on Sunday’. I don’t normally read the newspaper, but Lindsay Perigo told me to have a look. Since I’ve last read it, the editors of ‘Herald on Sunday’ have aimed straight for the lowest common denominator, and gone down the road of tabloid dross. It seems that amongst all the celebrity gossip, astrology and other mind-numbing waste of paper, there was, however, an article worth reading; it was an article by Deborah Coddington on the appalling standards of speech of television presenters, politicians, etc.:

Yeah, no, we’d like totally label your diction airy

As Coddington writes:

Journalism is a craft, be it print or broadcast, and for television reporters pronunciation is just as important as all other skills, like investigating the story, getting the facts correct and looking tidy and presentable.

So why are we assailed night after night by journalists who say “ower” instead of “hour”, “ear-lifted” instead of “air-lifted”, “wow” for “well”, choowdren, Wallington, vunrable, New Zilland and alactricity?

If they were print journalists and wrote that way, they’d be taken aside by the sub-editors and retrained, so why are they cruelly shoved in front of the cameras by their bosses and allowed to make the same mistakes?

Hear, hear! It’s good to see that the overwhelming majority of the comments at the bottom of the article agree with her.

In the article she also mentioned Mr Perigo’s recently launched campaign – Kiwis Don’t Quack. You can read more about this laudable campaign to reclaim the English language here:

A while ago I put my money where my mouth is, and enrolled in Mr Perigo’s speech training course. My de-quacking is progressing well, and I am much more confident when speaking. The only problem is that I am now even more aware of the horrible English all around us, particularly from those who should know better.

I hope Mr Perigo succeeds in getting through to the gate keepers of New Zealand’s broadcast media. I might one day be able to watch the “sucks o’clock news” again without wincing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to a speech from John Key without wincing, but at least it shouldn’t be because of his pronunciation.

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