December 30, 2008 12:22pm CST
I have a terrible time understanding a coworker of mine. English is his third language and on top of that, he mutters. While I respect that he speaks three languages (I should be so educated!), what good is it if nobody can understand him? Even those who speak his first two languages have a hard time due to his muttering. Are some people who don't pronunciate simply unable to do so? Or is it just lazy lips?
31 Dec 08
Hi johns421unlv, if a person does not have a physical disorder of any kind in the parts used for producing speech i.e. lips, tongue, palette etc. there should not be any kind of difficulty in producing the sounds of any language and consequently, for others to understand him. Actually, pronouncing the words is a habit that we create from our early days. Many of us may start it in a wrong way. If it is taken care of at the early stage, the defects can be removed easily. But I have also seen many, whose words are really difficult to understand even though my mother tongue is being spoken. And asking the person to repeat again and again causes embarrassment. It is very difficult to converse with such a person. To others, knowing many languages, has no fruitful result. However, one can improve, if tries hard and sincerely. You may let him know the difficulty and request him to speak in clearer terms, provided you must have a good relation and he must not get hurt. This can both of you. Happy new year..
• United States
31 Dec 08
He may actually have a hearing problem. I say this because you mentioned that he mumbles in all of his languages. Maybe you could ask him when he starts telling you something if he would mind speaking slower and looking directly at you when he speaks. You could say you have been having trouble hearing lately. If he has to think when he talks he might just articulate more clearly.