Speech Impediment

The red-top newspapers today have not given the new England football coach the best of starts, making much of his difficulty in pronouncing the letter "R."

"Bwing on the Euwos" was the Sun headline.

Problems with the aspiration of this particular letter are one of the most common speech difficulties, and I recall that some three decades ago one of Britain's most senior politicians, who indeed had the same first name as the new England manager (Roy), suffered from the same issue. In the mid 70's, having been appointed as President of the European Commission, Roy Jenkins in turn appointed David Marquand as his chef de cabinet. Jenkins then made a valedictory speech to the Parliamentary Labour party, in which he said he was leaving them "without rancour." At least, that's what he mean to say, but the "r" came out as a "w" prompting the wags to comment "I thought he was taking David Marquand."

Whatever the tabloids are saying now, I suspect the new coach will be judged more on what England achieves under his stewardship than an how he pronounces the letter R.


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