With apologies to the late Andy Rooney, who did commentaries on the CBS News program “60 Minutes,” I have a topic to discuss with you. And before we commence, I freely and openly admit I will be 61 next month and can pass as a curmudgeon. I do take better care of my eyebrows than Mr. Rooney.

Did you ever notice some people aren’t pronouncing the letter T anymore, especially if it falls in the middle of a word? Words like “kitten” and “water” are being pronounced like “KIH-en” and “WAH-er.” I have heard radio and television reporters talking this way and I find it disconcerting, distracting and annoying.

In an earlier version of my life, I had ambitions of being a radio or television reporter. I attended college and had a work study job at the local public radio station on the weekend. My duties amounted to giving station identification at the top of the hour, recording programs and making sure we joined National Public Radio at the right time. 

It wasn’t nearly as cool as it sounds.

I did have an opportunity to work on my “radio” voice, pronouncing words correctly and trying to be warm and conversational. It sounds easy, but it is actually very hard. So, in my own very limited experience, I can understand what these reporters are up against.

In doing research for this column, I discovered I wasn’t the only person who has noticed this trend. The phenomenon itself is known as “T-glottalization.” It occurs when a speaker swallows the T sound in a word rather than speaking it aloud.

According to an article on quickanddirtytips.com: “First of all, glottalization is a normal thing that people do when they talk. It occurs when our vocal folds come together to stop the flow of air and then suddenly open. If you say ‘uh-oh,’ a glottal stop occurs right after the ‘uh’ and before the ‘oh.’ Try it. You’ll feel a tightness in your throat when you say ‘uh’ that is released when you say ‘oh.’ That’s a glottal stop.”

Some folks in England who speak with a regional dialect do this all the time. Again, from quickanddirtytips.com: “For example, a hallmark of British Cockney speech is dropping T’s in the middle of words. Instead of ‘getting a bottle of water,’ you might be ‘GEH-ing a BAH-l of WAH-er.’ Instead of ‘waiting for a letter,’ you might be ‘WAY-ing for a LEH-er.’” Gary Drayton, the metal detection expert from my favorite show “The Curse of Oak Island” does this all the time.

When he drops the Ts, it can be considered charming (it’s actually annoying to me), but when a reporter reading the news does it, I get upset. I expect their grammar and pronunciations to be correct. You expect me to use and spell words correctly, it’s the same thing to me.

I understand that language and dialects continually evolve, but I worry that people won’t be able to spell words because they can’t sound them out. Will they be spelling “kitten” kihen and “water” waher?

I don’t think I want to live in that dystopian world. 

That’s what’s been on my mind lately. Thanks for hearing an old man out. Sorry, I should have said hanks for hearing an old man ow.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading. I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.