Don’t get ahead of yourselves. I am referring to speech.


Yes, all right, but let’s get back to speech for a moment. There are things we would still have without human speech, but some of it would lose its meaning.

Poetry: excellent example, if I say so myself. Sometimes, reading in our heads is powerful, but hearing a poem aloud can make all the difference and bring the language to life.

Jokes: I consider myself funny, but I suspect I’m funnier in real life than I am from the page. Maybe I’m mistaken. Do feel free to let me know.

Audiobooks: some people (and I know some of them) don’t have time to sit and read a book to themselves. They don’t necessarily enjoy reading from a Kindle – the light can be hard on the eyes. But a book, read aloud, by a compelling narrator, can be the difference between enjoying a novel and not even bothering with it.

Years back, my mother had a crack at listening to all of the tapes to ‘A Remembrance of Things Past’, until she realised how long it was. She gave up within the first dozen tapes. But audiobooks make a lot of difference to people on long journeys or too busy in their lives to sit and read. (Really, it’s on my list of things to do. Honestly, if I knew I would wind up doing the audiobook myself, I would have made Joaquin Recesvinto a Scotsman.)

Without the human tongue, it’s questionable what we would think of when we consider John Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Matt Berry, Alan Rickman. In terms of vocal skills, these are among the best.

Occasionally, you get someone who has a stunning singing voice with a speaking voice to break glass. I’ll not name them because one of them died a couple of years ago and that’s disrespectful, and the other one looks like she might sue. I’ll leave her to your imagination.

As well as funny, I think of myself as a gourmand. I love food. I love to cook. I’m very much a throw-every-herb-in-until-it-makes-sense kind of girl. But without the human tongue, food would only be fuel. It could not be an event. A friend of mine has no sense of taste or smell, and I don’t think there’s any individual I feel sorrier for than him. Can you imagine Greek lamb or Mississippi Mud Pie without any flavour? God, what would be the point in anything without the flavour?

But for singing, speaking, tasting and Saturday nights, the human tongue is without equal.

Day #92, have at it.