Monday, February 20, 2006

The Word of a Gentleman: Rule Seven

A Gentleman has Graceful Speech
He practices to display his words at their best.

Language is the primary link between the autonomous agents in a given society. It is the one arena where the symbols passed back and forth have lexically agreed upon meanings. But alas, errors can still occur. Tone, expression, inference, imputation, or even malapropisms are among the many ways what we say can be misheard and cause confusion or offense. The Gentleman wishes that he not be inaccurately heard. Presuming, of course, that he wishes to say that which befits the situation, he will be alert to the wealth of terms and usage that his native tongue has granted him. If gracious it is natural that even a simple man will normally say gracious things. At least his speech will be gracious in content at the limits of his vocabulary. A Gentleman rises above a presumption that this intent should be sufficient. Your audience is hearing more than the pure meaning of your words as they appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. A proper skill to obtain is a phrasing that will sing to all those ways your composition is being heard. You know already that you choose your words to convey your meaning. Choose also your metre, your voice, your gestures, your allusions, which will each decorate what you meant with your meaning.

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