R.I.P. O’s and G’s

RIPOsGs10-18-13

If your attorney said to you, “We’re going to trial,” but pronounced it as, ”We’re goin  ta  trial,” it wouldn’t inspire confidence. Even if you failed to catch the offhanded dropping of the G and the O, you would still sense a casual, even lazy, manner and might wonder if your case was being taken seriously.

The decline of proper diction in our speech today is a symptom of the increasing lack of etiquette and the casualness with which we treat each other. The neglectful way the letters O and G are treated at the end of certain words is part of a trend.

Out of respect to you, and to the legal profession, there is an obligation to speak clearly and correctly.  It surprises me to hear people, especially those in broadcast media and other professions, dropping O’s and G’s as if it’s part of proper dialect. Formal education, or lack there of, is no excuse. Peter Jennings, legendary news anchor and multiple Emmy winner, fully enunciated his words despite being a high school dropout.

Yes, there’s a time and place for relaxing the rules a bit: family pizza night, a sports bar or a rock concert. Creative expression in language is also an important component of the Arts. As the former attorney to many Motown artists, I wouldn’t want to hear Eddie Kendricks sing “Keep on Truckin’” any other way.

Use your judgement, and then put some effort into your enunciation. Bring back the O’s and G’s in your speech, and save the lazy slang for your down time. Or for artistic license, as Eddie Kendricks did:

The Small Print ( you can’t see )

Have you noticed the fine print at the bottom of your screen at the end of television commercials? It appears so quickly that even a twelve-year-old speed reader, with 20/20 vision, can’t see it. Offers for dollar-a-day life insurance, ridiculously low car payments and the like, disclose restrictive conditions to their offer in that fine print.

Then there is the disclaimer. This is an advertiser’s attempt to disavow any responsibility should you be harmed by using their product, or by imitating something you saw in their commercial.

Although Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that disclosures and disclaimers be “clearly and conspicuously” displayed, this is rarely enforced, with the exception of political ads or health-related claims. Which is why advertisers generally tag on a quick sprint of fine print at the end of their commercials, leaving consumers in the dust.

Advertisers argue that it takes expensive airtime to comply with FTC guidelines, but the creative minds behind this entertaining commercial for Mercedes-Benz® prove it can be done. Watch now: