The arguments rages on, even as the masters and purists of the language insist, words must be properly verbalized to distinguish one who has gone through the school of linguistics from the man or woman in the street who is condemned to speaking what the language experts refer to as the market place or junk English. Polished English, for this set of people matters not and never given a second thought, while interacting or conversing with others. Pidgin English is widely spoken not only in Nigeria but also in most African countries. That is understandable given the diversity and cultural nuances of the people that make up Nigeria for example, and of course, for lack of one common lingua franca, English came to the rescue, foisted on us by the British, our former colonial masters. Pidgin English emerged to bridge the gap between the semi-illiterate populations that dominates commerce, especially buying and selling of wares and articles. Reactions have since trailed my earlier piece entitled, ‘Your pronunciation matters,’ and so I could not just overlooked it and write on another subject but to continue my lessons on the correct pronunciation of words. For those who disagreed with me over my insistence that the spoken word matters with the right stresses in place, they seem not to understand the need to standardize the language of mass communication.
That many people, they argued, especially the elderly ones who are used to what they noted as the traditional way of pronouncing words, may be alienated or denied the opportunity of participating actively in any conversation. What matters, I told them, is all about making conscious efforts to learn and adapt to even the strangest language on earth. One does not necessarily have to be a linguist to pronounce words correctly. Watch your television and listen to the radio, particularly those I grouped as the serious media outfits, you will learn something. I won’t shy away from mentioning some of these good-towatch/listen broadcast stations, local and international; Channels TV, NTA, AIT/Raypower, FRCN/Metro fm and the BBC. These stations parade an array of good presenters and anchors one can mimic or even copy from. Learning is a continuum. Don’t be deceived, go on reading and listening as much as your energy can carry you, when possible, on daily basis, you will discover something new. Now our pronunciation exercise again begins with words that the letter ‘b’ is silent or omitted all together when pronouncing them. For example, ‘bombing,’ ‘climbing,’ and ‘combing.
’ Though the dictionary may differ in their pronunciation symbols, the standard is the same. ‘bombing,’ is pronounced ‘bomming,’ ‘climbing,’ and ‘combing,’ also get the same treatment, ‘kliming,’ and ‘koming.’ ‘Subpoena,’ another strange word to many readers, is a legal order, according to the dictionary, demanding evidence, or a written legal order summoning a witness or requiring evidence to be submitted to a court or similar deliberative body. The word ‘subpoena,’ a noun, even within the broadcast circle, is hard to pronounce, extra push is required to get it correctly verbalized. It is pronounced ‘suhb-peenuh.’ Just as we have it in ‘divorce,’ ‘divorcee,’ ‘love,’ ‘status quo,’ and ‘genre.’ Correctly pronounced, ‘di-vors,’ ‘di-vor-see,’ ‘luv,’ ‘stay-tuhsskwo,’ and ‘zhon-ruh.’ Still the list is endless, but we can conclude with those words commonly mispronounced. For example, ‘singing,’ ‘epoch,’ ‘epistle,’ ‘uproar,’ and ‘twilight are correctly pronounced, ‘Singing,’ with the letter ‘g’ silent, although some reference materials approved the letter ‘g’ should be vocalized but the majority of language experts think otherwise; ‘ee-pok,’ ‘ipissuhl,’ ‘uproor,’ and ‘twi lit/twalite.