Friends

19 March 2017

PLAIN SPEAKING

Is it my imagination or are people speaking faster now? Women seem to have adopted a way of talking that I can’t follow. It is more noticeable on television when English actresses speak in an affected, fast and slurry way at high speed. On top of this everyone these days talk across each other, all at once, causing nothing but a conversational babble. My brain can’t grasp what they are discussing half of the time. I realise that on TV there are time restrictions but that doesn’t excuse the rudeness of people who cut in when someone is in mid-sentence. I see the look of frustrations on some faces which is exactly how I feel seeing it happen.
Watching old programmes and films I notice how much slower and clearer women spoke in days gone by so I guess it’s probably a new craze for the excitable and show-off ways that have entered the English language. I have come to the conclusion that it’s not my hearing after all.
The ex-treasurer of my ex-WI speaks as though she’s in a race against time. I try very hard to grasp what she is saying and always have to ask her to repeat what she says. Or does the problem lie with me? Am I going deaf or something? I have noticed a similar problem with folk on television, mainly women so maybe it’s the pitch that stumps me, after all I hear men quite clearly. Deeper tones must suit me better. Whatever, it is becoming a nuisance. When watching TV programmes I can turn up the volume or use subtitles but it’s not as easy in real life. Imagine the response I would get I asked a real live woman to switch on her subtitles. I fancy the white van would soon be here to pick me up!!
Seriously, I can hardly ask women to shout and I think I would annoy them if I kept asking them to repeat everything. Thank goodness for men, that’s all I can say. I have no trouble hearing or understanding them, which confirms my suspicion that it’s not all down to me. 

Valerie

18 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

I don't watch TV, but their was a specific programme I wanted to see called "Moorside". Sheridan Smith was great but I really really had a tough time hearing what she said and the other female actresses in it, and I was turning the volume up and up too.

Valerie said...

Joe, I'm so pleased to hear it isn't just me. I was better off when I didn't watch TV but since my husband died I turned to it for company. The other day I resorted to subtitles ... hitherto unheard of.

Jenny Woolf said...

Sometimes it's hard to hear when they have music and lots of background noise. Some of it is probably one's hearing, might be an idea to get it checked out. Or so I keep telling myself...

Valerie said...

Hi Jenny. Even with one damaged ear (since childhood) I can hear quite clearly, except when modern women start to babble. I don't have any trouble hearing men... I'm pleased to say!!

joeh said...

I can't even watch a lot of TV shows or movies because of this. It is not just fast talking, but they WHISPER all the time for "dramatic effect." The other problem is the women almost all look alike and have similar names. I think every major female character should have a different hair color and or style, or they should wear large name tags at all times.

Ron said...

"Deeper tones must suit me better."

And me as well, Valerie. In fact, higher-pitched voices (or sounds) actually irritate my ears to the point of not only not hearing them as clear, but also grates on my nerves.

Now I have to admit, I do talk fast (it's probably a "Northeast thing" here in the US) because people in east coast cities are notorious for being fast-talkers. However, I think I speak clearly, so I've never had anyone say they couldn't hear me or to slow down.

Hope you're having a faaaaaabulous Sunday, dear friend!

X to you and Charlie

Denise inVA said...

No, it's not all down to you Valerie. I never thought of this before but have noticed that I seem to drift away into fairy-land when involved in a group conversation particularly ;) My hearing is a little off but if it's Gregg, I can hear him from the opposite side of the room, laughing here. When he and my son were talking in a rather large store once, the cashier told them they should be on radio as he could hear them all the way from the back to the cash register. I had to laugh because the young man was being very serious with no hint of sarcasm.

Valerie said...

Joeh, yes yes yes, that's a problem I forgot to mention. Sometimes the actresses speak so low it's as if they're speaking from their boots. As for looking alike, just the other day I told my friend that I couldn't decide who's who even after months of watching. Strange, when I know who all the men are!

Valerie said...

Hey Denise, see what I mean ... men are so much clearer than women. Yet it hadn't used to be so. I think if there is a problem with our hearing we adjust our ability to hear.

Valerie said...

Ron, you surprise me. I would have thought you would drawl rather than speed talk. At last, I got something wrong.... grins. I agree with you that softer tones are better and much easier on the ears so long as the person speaks up.

S. J. Qualls said...

I don't know if it's me, but it seems to me that the bleep background music on some shows is louder than the talking. A person would think with today's technology that you could control the volume of each track.

Carole said...

Oh my goodness! This is so true! I have noticed it in the younger generations, both young men and women. It is so disconcerting. The other thing I have noticed is something called "uptalk", where the speaker ends a declarative sentence with a rising intonation at the end. Again, something found more common among the younger folks and just as annoying (to me).

Valerie said...

SJQ, gosh yes, I had forgotten that background music. I believe it is meant to create atmosphere..... it certainly does. It is difficult enough trying to decipher what they say without having to battle with music.

Valerie said...

Carole, I have noticed that awful 'uptalk'. It makes me wonder why it is done... it must have been copied from somewhere - I wonder if they can un-copy for the sake of normality?

kden said...

Totally agree on all of this. Standing in a fast food line, the girl asked me a question so fast I just stared at her for a long time waiting for my brain to kick in, then said "Huh?" louder than I should have. My poor daughter was embarrassed and I felt old :/

Valerie said...

kden, how awful. It's a relief to know it's not just me affected by rapid speech. This new 'craze' for speed talking is embarrassing to those having to listen to it.

A Cuban In London said...

I have noticed a certain Americanisation of British English. This includes that fast-talking feature you mentioned and an end-of-the-sentence rising intonation tone.

Greetings from London.

Mr. Shife said...

It does seem like people are just talking over each other or just waiting for their turn to talk and not really listening to the other person. My hearing has always been bad because I was born with a single-sided deafness so the closed captioning is always on when I watch TV. It's just easier because if I turn it up to where I can hear it then Mrs. Shife says it's too loud. Enjoy your weekend, Val.