An international business traveler named Rick, commenting in response to my first post, stated “non-native English speakers often do not move their lips as …expect[ed] from a native speaker” and that he has “adjusted to many different accents and lip movements, but it required lots of practice.” That’s downright miraculous! Like most hard of hearing people, I struggle to understand anyone with heavily accented English. But living in Florida, I’m used to hearing, “Do you want cheeps with that sub?”
What makes me a little crazy is normal hearing native speakers of English blissfully unaware that they are mispronouncing their own name! There oughta be a law! Mandatory time locked in a speech clinic ’til they can say their own name right might do ’em some good!
Anyway, I digress. Hard of hearing people are very attentive to the way people speak. We must depend upon our eyes to fill in the sounds our ears fail to receive. But sometimes our eyes see too well. For example, while I was at work in the Local Government Building, a female customer needed assistance. I asked for her name.
She said, “Bef Smif.” *
Hmm….. A bit confused, I politely said, “Please spell your name for me.”
She very carefully spelled, B-E-T-H-S-M-I-T-H. She then leaned over, slowly enunciating, “Bef Smif.”
I can’t hear the difference, but I sure can SEE the difference!
*Name changed to protect the guilty