We’ve all been brought up on a staple diet of (silent) reading and listening in school. As long as students don’t speak up, teachers are grateful. In crowded classes, one can’t interact with students, so any student speaking up becomes ‘a disturbance’. Speaking skills in most educational institutions take a backseat, with the result that speaking has become a problem today and companies are forced to spend lavishly on getting their employees to speak the right way – by sounding interested, intelligent and intelligible.
What’s the problem?
Speaking involves grammar and vocabulary, and most importantly, the ability to be understood by the listener. Therefore, it is a combination of volume and clarity, which we call enunciation. Essentially, it means the ability to speak clearly without mumbling and by pronouncing each syllable in the right way so that the listener does not have to be constantly saying, “Pardon me?” or “Could you say that again, please?”
Manaswini Sridhar is a teacher educator and language trainer based in Chennai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.