Pardon?

Have you ever spoken to someone who mumbled? You strain every muscle to concentrate, but their contorted consonants just make no sense.

Speaking clearly can almost be a skill in itself, but it’s not just about being understood. A good orator has to inject emotion too and get the balance pitch perfect.

Actors are the best example. With regional accents heard more than the clipped ‘perfect English’ of Celia Johnson and co of fifty years ago, we’re demanding realism. But listen carefully. Those actors don’t let their accents take them over. Their pronunciation is still spot on. Julie Walters never disguises her Midlands accent (unless a part calls for it), but you can still hear and understand every word.

Imagine a Carry On film. Would Hattie Jacques’s matron have summoned a nurse to empty a bedpan if all they’d heard was “Nerve! Where’s that Nerve?”

No, sloppy words can get us all into a mess, literally!