Do you know people who mumble when they speak ?
They are difficult to communicate with. There are various reasons why people don’t speak clearly. There are medical reasons, as when people are in recovery from a stroke, but most often, mumbling is a careless speech habit. People mumble when they are nervous or embarrassed. Victims of emotional trauma sometimes mumble because they don’t expect anyone to really listen to them. And, as parents know, teenagers may mumble when they don’t really want you to understand what they are saying.
Mumbling is a common speech pattern of rural Newfoundlanders. After being here for fifteen years, it is still sometimes difficult for me to communicate well with some of my neighbours.
This situation turned dangerous last year when my husband and I visited a local coffee shop to enjoy one of their delicious desserts. Behind the counter, my husband spotted a pale green slice of pie, which he thought was Key Lime Pie, his favourite ! We both asked the server if this was Key Lime Pie. He confirmed that it was indeed Key Lime Pie.
When my husband started eating it, he soon started sneezing and feeling unwell. I recognized, even before he did, that he was having an allergic reaction, and we headed up to the Emergency Department, where he was treated for what was indeed a severe allergic reaction.
When he recovered, we went back to the Coffee Shop to ask the owner what kind of pie that was. She said it was : ‘Kiwi Lime Pie.’ My husband has a life threatening allergy to Kiwi fruit, and this explained his reaction.
Just one syllable was so significant ! Key Lime Pie, and Kiwi Lime Pie sound so similar . We had not been able to clearly understand what the Coffee Shop server had told us.
As parents , or grandparents, let us encourage children to articulate clearly , and enunciate well. Clear speech always gives us more credibility.
As followers of the Lord, we also need to communicate clearly, to effectively share the good news of the Gospel with others.
Pictured are funny Puffins. Colonies of these birds live on the cliffs near our house in the summer.