WATCH: The words that leave our stars tongue-tied

 

From on-air mishaps to last-minute script changes, Queensland's top presenters and performers have revealed the words even they stumble over every time.

According to speech pathologists, struggling with certain sounds, particularly those mastered later in childhood, is a common issue and stressful situations can exacerbate the problem.

So for TV and radio presenters, hosts and actors, a problem word can lead to embarrassing and memorable moments.

Channel 7 news anchor Sharyn Ghidella struggles with "anonymity" and recalls stumbling over it during a live radio interview when she started out in her presenting career, during which the interviewer asked how she would cope with being recognised.

"My first thoughts were I don't know how I'm going to cope with that because I'm someone who really appreciates my anonymity," she said.

Queensland Home and Away actor Sophie Dillman struggles to say “specific”. Picture: Supplied/ Channel 7
Queensland Home and Away actor Sophie Dillman struggles to say “specific”. Picture: Supplied/ Channel 7

"After about five or six goes of trying to get it out I just admitted defeat and said look I guess I'm someone who just likes being anonymous. And that's exactly what I wanted to be at that very moment after that right, royal stuff up."

The word "aesthetics" gets swimmer turned Nova breakfast host Susie O'Neill into trouble while Home and Away actor Sophie Dillman struggles with "specific" and co-star Emily Weir trips over "communicative".

Meanwhile Brisbane model and presenter Tess Alexander tries to avoid saying "rural" in public.

"Whenever I have to say it I will always find another way to describe the word rural - Central Australia, country Australia, outback - I can never say it," she said.

"Honestly I will be on stage and just end up growling at the audience. It is so hard".

Brisbane model and presenter Tess Alexander avoids saying the word “rural”. Picture: Richard Walker
Brisbane model and presenter Tess Alexander avoids saying the word “rural”. Picture: Richard Walker

Hit 90.9 presenter Bianca Dye was probed by her co-hosts on air for her pronunciation of "stoic" while 4KQ breakfast host and Channel 7 presenter Laurel Edwards said she often stumbles over "ability" while reading scripts.

B105 breakfast show host Abby Coleman said her co-host Stav Davidson had to help her master the word "distribution".

"I found out I couldn't say it while MCing a gig and it was in there probably around 20 times, so Stav had to teach me how to say it," she said.

Channel 7 presenter Amanda Abate is tripped up by the R sounds in brewery and the Gold Coast suburb Worongary, which she said, being a news anchor on the Gold Coast, came up a lot.

"Brewery comes out as one long slurred word. I don't know why my mouth just can't get around the Rs and the Es," she said.

Even Australian star actor Chris Hemsworth isn't immune to a pronunciation problem, recently sharing a video promoting his Centr fitness app during which he repeatedly stumbled over the word "subscription".

Channel 7 Gold Coast news presenter Amanda Abate stumbles over “brewery” and the suburb “Worongary”. Picture: Jerad Williams
Channel 7 Gold Coast news presenter Amanda Abate stumbles over “brewery” and the suburb “Worongary”. Picture: Jerad Williams

"If you can say 12 month subscriptions you are also extra special," he concluded.

Meanwhile Queensland Theatre actor Bryan Probets said he had to focus every time he said the word "Vietnamese".

"You'd think as an actor I would have a grapple on words. Well the sad truth is sometimes the words have a bit of a grapple on myself," he said.

"I say "Vietmanese". That's my downfall. And try as I might and with respect and apologies to my beautiful Vietnamese friends, I am so sorry, I just can't do it. It's beyond me."

Brisbane's 2019 speech pathologist of the year Bernadette Dutton explained that it takes five to seven years for most children to master all the sounds in the English language and words that contain consonant sounds including L, R, TH, S and CH, which are mastered last, can be harder to say into adulthood.

Queensland Theatre star Bryan Probets gets mixed up saying “Vietnamese”. Picture: Supplied
Queensland Theatre star Bryan Probets gets mixed up saying “Vietnamese”. Picture: Supplied

"Each sound we say is made by a unique combination of lip, tongue, and voice box (larynx) positions," Ms Dutton, the national speech pathology manager for Plena Healthcare, said.

"There are three things we need working well to say words clearly. They include our brain, our speech muscles, and our hearing.

"Each individual sound in a word is produced so quickly that at times we may get the sequence out of order, which makes the word difficult to say."

She said it became more problematic when those consonants came immediately after one another, like the STR sound in Coleman's "distribution", or the sound is used multiple times in one word, such as Alexander's "rural".

The more syllables in a word the more the tongue has to move at a rapid pace, which can cause problems, particularly during a stressful situation when the mouth is dry and the throat tightens.

Chris Hemsworth stumbled over "subscription" in an Instagram video promoting his Centr app. Picture: Instagram
Chris Hemsworth stumbled over "subscription" in an Instagram video promoting his Centr app. Picture: Instagram

While these factors make some words more commonly difficult to pronounce, Ms Dutton said, similar to any other muscular activity, it was unique to everyone.

"Just like walking and running, we have our own unique style," she said.

She recommends saying the word slowly and over articulating the sound to get the muscles in the right position, and teach this new pattern to the brain, and practising the sound on its own before moving onto longer words and putting it in a sentence.

Ms Dutton said while some can ignore the stumble or laugh it off, others commonly felt "self-conscious, embarrassed or frustrated" and avoided saying the word.

"How a person feels is personal, yet the pressure or expectations other people put on them can impact the way they feel," she said.

"If you are speaking with someone who stumbles over words, the best thing is to be patient and encouraging and make them feel comfortable talking with you."

 

CELEBS' WORST WORDS

Sharyn Ghidella: Anonymity

Susie O'Neill: Aesthetics

Sophie Dillman: Specific

Bianca Dye: Stoic

Chris Hemsworth: Subscription

Emily Weir: Communicative

Laurel Edwards: Ability

Abby Coleman: Distribution

Bryan Probets: Vietnamese

Other tricky words: Sandwich, ask, hors d'oeuvre

 

 

Originally published as Watch: The words that leave our stars tongue-tied


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