I speak near perfect Italian. More accurately, I can understand Italian almost word for word.
I’ve never taken a class, formal or online, but I have had excellent teachers.
Verdi and Shakespeare.
In addition to enjoying the Shakespeare based operas that Verdi wrote, I get a secondary rush from knowing almost precisely what’s going on in the opera house where these two writers and storytellers merged their gifts – Macbeth, Falstaff and Othello. (Of course, Verdi got a big hand from some enlightened librettists.)
Foreign language learning by emersion is often the best teacher. I used to speak Spanish when I lived in Los Angeles (18 years), because it was all around me. If you have no choice but to speak a foreign language, that genius app, your brain, takes over. And, within a relatively short period of time, there you are reasonably managing, speaking and understanding that foreign language.
Now, I’m using Babbel to relearn Spanish, but my best teacher is my former SiriusXM colleague, Israel Salazar. Whenever I listen to him on the Satellite’s Latin American channels, I pretty much know what he’s saying because he’s such a powerful communicator, which is what all true broadcasters are.
Most of us will never be Verdi, Shakespeare or Salazar. What can we do to make up for that “shortcoming?”
Words matter as we often see and hear in our current social and political divide and uncertainty.
I like simple words that get quickly to the heart of the meaning. I practice “Listener Language,” a phrase coined by radio consultant Dan O’Day, where I think and talk like our audience. Some consider that “dumbing down,” but I think finding the right words to connect with our audience is “smartening up.”
Sonata Allegro Form, Recapitulation, D minor and other insider language is fine, but only if you explain it immediately. Leonard Bernstein did it well on Television with the help of a piano or an orchestra, and Jonathan Biss does it with grace on Coursera. https://bit.ly/186ydq9
Something to think about during your next media encounter, or posts on social media, program notes, emails and any other materials you send out.
Many years ago, “slated” became the new way to say that something is starting. I never got the need for a new word. The Orchestra’s new concert season kicks off on October 25th?
On the other hand, finding new and fresh ways to communicate is always a good idea, so maybe I am dumb.
Whatever is clear and immediately understandable is my go-to – especially since we usually only get one shot at being heard and understood.