“E-nun-ci-ate your words and stop muttering!” My father says slowly to me as if I’m too slow and that is the only way to insure I understand english.
“I am enunciating. I’m trying my best.”
“Well obviously you're not, in the event that I’m still repeating myself. You need to speak more clearly and pronounce your words right.”
He does this every time I speak. He mocks how I mutter words or pronounce them the way he wants to hear them. On any occasion when I talk around him, it turns into an english lesson and he begins to turn into a strict teacher gradually getting angry with me when I don’t do exactly what he says. It’s not my fault that my tongue doesn’t make the same shape that his does. I only mutter for the reason that I no longer feel my words are important in light of the fact that what I say is never heard, only how I say it. He limits my power making me no longer want to communicate through speech, leaving me with the other ways to communicate that might not seem fit.
“Say ‘chips’.” My mother says as she watches the road, giggling to herself.
“Ships.” I say, knowing what comes next.
“No it’s ‘chips’, I swear you do it on purpose.” She is now laughing so much I see a tear running down her cheek.
I used to get my “sh” sound and my “ch” sound confused. I could never tell the difference; I thought it was the same sound, spelled two different ways. I never understood why she laughed at the way I said certain words. Eventually I broke out of saying the sounds the way I did. I cannot tell the difference to this day. I only know I changed because my mom stopped laughing at me. Either way, I still feel that her laughter took power away from me just because the fact that I misunderstood the english language.
When I am at home, language used to be an area of conflict for me. My father tends to use the way I speak against me and took it as a way to make his way of speaking the superior intelligence. My mother used to do the same but unconsciously, she would use it to get a quick laugh and make her own way of speech seem superior.
“I don't know.’ That's my response to what feels like millions of questions he throws in my head. I can feel all the stress, the anxiety, the blood boiling. His stern voice begins to rumble in my ears-”
“What? In your fears? Speak louder. We need you to be clear, so we know you will be clear when you go on stage.” Imani mocks the words out my mouth as I practice my poem for PYPM Slam League.
I know Imani is right and just trying to help. Also she is only making fun of the how I say things just in order to show me how people hear it and to lighten up the situation, because preparing for PYPM Slam is stressful without having to worry about your speech.
My friends at school tends to make fun of the way I say things but they use it to help me with my communications. They ask what it is I’m saying and tell me what they hear, then give suggestions along the lines of slowing down my sentences.These are the only few occasions where I felt as though I lose power (for the reason of the way I speak) and my language is an area of conflict for me. English is my first and only language. I used to mutter and not enunciate my words. Now I listen to myself as I talk and try to make sure people can understand me, due to that fact that speaking is important in my everyday life. Public speaking will be an important part of my life in the future. I’m not saying the way I speak in this point of time is perfect. As a matter of fact, sometimes I let it slip and do not pay attention, but then I repeat myself so it doesn't become a problem. In the event that I don/'t notice I don’t mind if people draw it to my attention. The only problem is the fact that when I slow down my words, my mind moves faster than my mouth, so I stubble or stutter because I’m trying to stay on track of what I’m saying. Language is not connected to power in my mind, only because when people talk a certain way, I see it as their way of speaking and I know they probably went through the same experience as me to sound the way they sound now. So I don't see a superior or more intelligence language, neither do I see a inferior or more dumb way of speaking. Also I do not believe there is a right language.