I’ve always had the impression that written English is a lot easier than spoken English. For a job interview or any other oral interview, I will prefer to be asked to answer questions by writing them down than being asked to speak. I find comfort and some form of safety in writing than speaking. There have been cases where my spoken English have embarrassed me and I will write about them>>>
1. FILLET – On this particular day, a group of friends and I went to McDonald to grab something to eat. At the driveway making our orders, I asked for fish fillet and pronounced the t in fillet. When the second person made her order and pronounced fillet, I had to hold myself not to laugh.
2. BIRTHDAY SUIT– All my life, I had thought a birthday suit refers to a great outfit. Say I see a friend looking really good on a beautiful dress, I will say something like “Lade, what’s the occasion as you are putting on your birthday suit”. Or if I had an event to attend, I will say something like “I will surely be there on my birthday suit to have fun”. I just learnt last week from the comments on a friend’s Facebook post that a birthday suit is a slang for one’s naked body. I nearly fainted. I still feel so embarrassed for all the times I have used that word and wondered what others were thinking.
3. CONNECTICUT – On this day, I was having a discussion with my friend and I mentioned Connecticut. He was like “Grace, say that again” and I did. He laughed at me and corrected me. Oh my! My pronunciation was far from the right one. He taunted me for days with my wrong pronunciation and I had no choice than to laugh back after I had confirmed the pronunciation online.
4. NICHE– At some point, I was not sure if niche was pronounced as nik or nich until a certain job interview. I was in a group of three where we had to analyze a case study, make a presentation and brace up for all the questions that were to be asked. I had my argument for the company in the case to focus on its niche market rather than diversifying. At the mention of niche, I always made a pause after the mention of the word. I was so unsure of the pronunciation until I found out that I was right after I had checked online. At the end of the day after a couple of interviews later, I got the job.
5. GOOGLE – I had always pronounced google as gogul until a friend corrected me. It took me a while before I adjusted to the right pronunciation. I was too embarrassed to think about all the years of my life I had pronounced google incorrectly
For non-native English language speakers who have to speak English as a formal way of communication, it surely pays to improve on enunciations and avoid grammatical blunders. Take corrections lightly and just laugh at yourself, life is not that hard to get aggressive after a correction. You never can tell when a slight error of yours can lead to a viral video and millions of memes that could make you crawl into a hole for days. I have seen that happen to top public officials in Nigeria and the cyber bullying that followed were not pleasant at all.