I Read English Goodly…But No Goodly Same As Read You

Read, or enjoy the audio version below from one of my favorite blogs, revisited:

Warning!  I am a satirist!  If you do not have a sense of humor or are easily-offended, these blogs may not be for you. May I interest you in an innocuous episode of Peppa Pig instead?

 

An Unexpected Treasure Trove of Laughter

  • I was 17.
  • It was the summer of 1990.
  • I had a paper route.
  • That last part should have been assumed, because I was 17.

 

I was nearly done with my route, which consisted of approximately 218 Seattle Times papers in the Bellevue area east of Seattle.  Vanilla Ice was blaring (does Vanilla Ice blare?), and I was rocking my Honda CRX with cool red pinstripes that desperately screamed "Accept Me!"

I pulled into the cul-de-sac and tossed a few papers, pulling around the bend to the paper tubes on the mailboxes.  Opening one of them only to insert a paper and not to look for anything that said “Publisher’s Clearing House” on it so that I might commit the crime of mail theft and hopefully win millions to pay for the crime of mail theft, I saw a little folded note on it that said "Paperboy."  Hey, that’s me! I thought gleefully, as I extracted the little folded note and hoped to God a tip check fell out.  Nothing did.  Jerks.

But to my lasting delight and eternal amusement, what I would feast my eyes upon was the most gloriously written composition ever, next to "Free repeat screenings of Aliens with FREE popcorn and FREE Mountain Dew and FREE Bottle Caps all day while we pay all your bills for a WHOLE YEAR!" This note, typed neatly on some kind of onion paper, said the following:

 

Dear sirs,

Please stop delivery Seattle Time to us.  Because we are nobody read it.  I try to call you 2062275770 and make record but look like useless.

Sincere,

[ Name Withheld ]

 

Oh that note.  That blessed note from Mr. & Mrs. Withheld that split my side and drew me back in to breathe its effervescence, take in its fine English prose, and drink in the mammoth comedy of the sentence structure.  And to be called “Sir!”  I had apparently arrived.  Aside from the fact that the phone number they listed was not even my phone number, the less-than-perfect phraseology just made my heart sing.

If I could write a response letter, it would read as follows:

 

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Withheld,

I don’t know that I shall ever meet you.  But I thank you for the gift of LIFE-GIVING AND ENDLESS LAUGHTER.  I am ONE with you in mirth now.  Your note has blessed me in ways I cannot even begin to describe.  We are family now, joined together in magical comedy.

Sincerely,

Paperboy

 

I never sent that note.  I never met Mr. & Mrs. Withheld.  But to this day, it remains one of the chief events of my life.  Next to the Aliens marathon of course, and the time that I burped, sneezed, farted and coughed simultaneously and nearly created a rupture in the space-time continuum.

 

English kinda sucks!

Free photos of Confused

Used by permission from RobinHiggins via Pixabay.  All Rights Reserved.

 

So, English obviously wasn’t The Withheld Family’s mother tongue.  But can you blame these people?  It is a horrible fusion of insanity and brain sludge, with a side order of crazy.  There are twists and turns innumerable, and 100% of them lead to cataclysmic lemming plunges off a cliff somewhere.

I actually wrote a similar blog, but this one here was too important to pass up, just like a Butterfinger Blizzard on the way home from the gym following my "How to Maintain My New Year's Resolutions" class.

Maybe Yoda actually did speak perfect English - because English, as a rule, sucks.  God bless the poor hapless souls in whose will and determination germinates the seed of desire to venture to actually learn our buffoonish language.  It is a pure barbarian assault on logic.  There is nothing in the English language that makes sense.  Sure, flip it around and examine the Spanish language, and you are required to learn tu, usted, ustedes, quesadilla and mild sauce.  But with English, it is absolute madness.

If I were a foreigner, after flipping through the first two pages of “How To Learn English And Not Kill Yourself”, I would stop reading English and kill myself.  In fact I am certain that there are more blood-soaked copies of “How To Learn English And Not Kill Yourself” than there are non-blood-soaked copies of “How To Learn English And Not Kill Yourself” in circulation.

Those poor souls.

Here are some examples of why the English language sucks.  Now please show these people some love, and throw up a Hunger Games Mockingjay salute for all the poor souls who have sadly perished trying to learn the English language.

  1. Why is it pronounced naked, and yet it is baked? What if you got baked naked?  I think you should have something baked nakedly.  All of this of course while drinking a hot sake, which is spelled like naked and baked and is pronounced nothing like them.
  2. Every single “c” in Pacific Ocean is said differently. Those poor souls.
  3. How does “pony bologna” rhyme, and yet Sean Bean does not?
  4. Why does Shawn yawn, but Shaun doesn’t yaun, and neither does Sean yean?
  5. Rules to learning English: Their OUR know rules.
  6. Can you imagine looking at the word “yacht” and not just giving up? Those poor souls.
  7. There is NO way “colonel” sounds like kernel. And yet if you are addressing someone in the military why does it sound like you are talking to popcorn?
  8. Queue. Five letters.  But you only pronounce the first letter.  *head explodes*
  9. Why is it trough, but yet it is rough, and also it is slough or through, when in fact it is actually dough…but really it is plough? So do you plough through the dough slough roughly in the trough?  Those poor souls.
  10. Said is pronounced said. But wait: laid is pronounced like paid.  But uh-oh: here comes bread which is NOT to be pronounced like bead, which is not pronounced like lead, not to be confused with lead.
  11. I get it now.  English is easy. Because it is womb which sounds like boom.  And yet bomb is not ALSO pronounced like boom.  Makes perfect sense.
  12. English is hard enough (which does not sound like trough, remember!), and yet we force new students to learn “all the good faith that I had had, had no effect whatsoever”. Those poor souls.
  13. Minute and minute are spelled the exact same.
  14. I am not content with this content.
  15. I object to that object.
  16. Excuse me, but there is no excuse for this
  17. Someone should wind up this blog and throw it into the wind
  18. It sucks when I read read as read and not read, so I have to re-read read as read so that I can read read correctly and it can make sense (cents? SCENTS?!?!?)
  19. Finally, on a related note, if Yoko Ono married Sonny Bono, would she be Yoko Ono Bono? Or if Olivia Newton had married Elton John then divorced him to marry Wayne Newton and then divorced him to remarry Elton John, would she be Olivia Newton-John Newton-John?
  20. *jumps off of bridge in frantic desperation*

Hunger Games GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Me give up.  Me learn Klingon.

Honestly?  I can imagine way back when The Draft was a thing, and young U.S. immigrants were faced with the requirement to either learn English or storm the beach at Normandy.  Their beach-littered carcasses speak volumes that they made the right choice, because English is a brutal thing that defies logic, vexes our very souls and should be summarily eliminated, much like calculus or Michael Bolton music.

 

The Elite

As Voiceover Artists, we are the Elite. The few. The proud. The brave.  It is up to us.  We are the ones who stand the test of time and can successfully navigate our way through a comprehensive script just bursting with complex words such as “cat” and “the”.  The ones who, when the dust settles, can brush ourselves off and say “Vas schnouzer y quesadilla iglesia Antonio Banderas gutentag konichiwa, oui?”

Those poor souls.

Seriously.  In the Internet age, we are plagued with poor grammar everywhere we look, even by those we naively assume are civilized English-speaking humans:

  • Things like using “your” instead of “you’re”.  Look, I understand you need a nap after having to use that heavy apostrophe, kid – you take some time and rest up and maybe you’ll get it right the next time.  Poor kid.  Tryin’ so hard.
  • And the saps that use “prolly” because “probably” is prolly too many sybles.  Oh, forgive me, I couldn’t take the time to write out “probably” or “syllables” because I’m a lazy bum.
  • Oh!  And how about this one!  “Bae”.  This one makes me want to puke coat hangers.  You can’t muster up the energy to slap in an extra “b” there and complete the word “babe”?  You really do not have the energy to do that?  Time for some drastic action to shake some extra consonants out of you.  Here, hop in my car for a second.  Put your seat belt on, I wanna try something.  I saw it in a cartoon but I am pretty sure I can do it.

 

It is up to us, O Worthy Voice Talent, to preserve reading goodly.  Spelling goodly. Pronouncing goodly.  Showing the world that we understand good diction, pronunciation, articulation, and other -tions that matter.

It is up to us to make recordings that document our unswerving commitment to speaking with clarity.  Not the kind of semi-opaque clarity that makes a 17-year-old paperboy keel over from side-splitting laughter.  I am talking real, translucent, dazzling clarity with dotted i’s and crossed t’s.  With “I" before "E" except after "C" and when sounding like "A" as in neighbor and weigh, and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May, where you will always be wrong no matter what you say.

Those poor souls.  Prolly time they get themselves a bae.

Sincere,

Joshua Withheld

 

PS, if you would like to reach me with comments about this blog, you may call 206-227-5770, but look like useless.

 

=====

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Joshua Alexander
The Voices In My Head Blog
blog@itsthevoicesinmyhead.com ∙ josh@supervoiceover.com
360.339.1900

21 thoughts on “I Read English Goodly…But No Goodly Same As Read You”

  1. It is widely believed that American English is the hardest language to learn. Even for American English people, if the current state of written communication via messaging platforms and social media are any indication. A testament to the profound responsibility all purveyors of accurate and clear communication bare. Or it is bear?🐻Take your pick according to your own personal preference.

  2. LOL some of these examples kill me. Nice going, Josh. Freaking hysterical, the examples of craziness in the English language. How ***DID*** we learn to read, write and speak anyway? Seems like English is beyond the plebeians.

    1. Aren’t they crazy, Gordon? I mean seriously. I have no idea how I learned it or how any one else learned it. It’s bizarre. Or bazaar. Or buhzarr. Or something. Or sumtheeng.

  3. ###MY SIDES HURT FROM THEEEEEEESE!!!!!!!### josh these are hysterical — i know, the english language makes no sense at all! Thanks for the side -splitting laughter this morning; i needed it!(although i have no idea how i am even able to read this IN-SANE language, hahahahahaha!!! :):)

  4. English IS a messy language. You touched on some of the real conundrums that must really vex people learning the language. I’ve always admired people who take on learning English, especially after childhood, as our brains tend to not be quite as spongy with language as the years progress. That is a true undertaking that will always earn instant respect from me. For now, I’m sticking to improving my Spanish – which unlike English, is a generally logical and easy language to follow!
    In a similar vein, you ever think about learning any of the dialects from China?? This video makes it look pretty simple!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS0UOylWKsA

    1. Oh, I don’t know…I just watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and noticed some of the ancient Mandarin Chinese writing as it was performed – I have no idea how anyone reads THAT either. Although it’s beautiful in its calligraphic (a word?) style, to be sure…it’s definitely beyond me. But nonetheless, you appear to have mastered English, my friend – looking forward to your next blog!

  5. I’m with you all the way on these, Josh. And I was taught to speak properly and articulately, only to be instructed as a VO years later to “forgeddaboutit” when voicing commercial copy. Conversational is one thing, but I miss the days when it was also totally understandable. And you could actually make out the lyrics of well-written, poetic songs. (heavy sigh) Back I go to my medical narration, where clear articulation is appreciated…. Saying all that, I’m glad that English is my native tongue, ’cause it’s much harder than most other languages to master!

  6. Oooh, nr4 was my fav!!!
    Speaking of lists – there’s one that recently started rearing it’s ugly head: sauce instead of source. I can deal with grammar nazi desires for the apostrophe debate – and yes, it is the final frontier – but it seams old frontiers need blowing up with new-killer wurds… Sauce please!… LOL.

    1. Pass the sauce please! Yes, I am all for good grammar and appropriate punctuation – and I have people in my life that are like that as well. But it is the unapologetic dumbing down of the language by some people who are just simply too lazy to learn correct syntax that gets my goat. Aside from that, you can’t really blame them: it’s an insane language that defies logic as it is. Anyway, I commend you on YOUR grasp of it at least!

      1. Haha, it is. I find that social and things like texting has really done a big job to ruin language. A friend of mine is a primary school teacher and she says the kids are insanely smart, but their language skills are a mess (at least for Afrikaans – one can only assume it’s worse for there (hehe) second language). Eye gess well knevur no… hehe.

      2. Thank you btw! You too! You default accent is my fav US accent – without trying to be offensive, it’s kinda what I would want English to sound like in an ideal world.

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