Aristotle - William Shakespeare - Lord Chesterfield - William Hazlitt - Homer - Richard Brinsley Sheridan - Henry David Thoreau - W B Yeats - Marcus Tullius Cicero - Jeffrey R Holland - Adlai Stevenson - Shane 1953 - The Shape of Water 2017 - Killing Eve TV - Jonathan Meades TV - Exodus 4:14&15 - Psalms 39:1-4 - Matthew 12:34 - Matthew 15:11 - James 3:8
Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided. Aristotle
For things are often spoke and seldom meant. William Shakespeare, The First Part of the Contention II Henry VI III i 268, Suffolk
He hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is his clapper; for what his heart thinks his tongue speaks. William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing III ii 12
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor power of speech,
To stir men’s blood; I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar III ii 225
Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak. William Shakespeare, As You Like It III ii 265
I’ll speak to it though hell itself should gape. William Shakespeare, Hamlet I ii 243, Hamlet to Horatio
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not see the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently. ibid. III ii 1
I will speak daggers to her but use none. ibid. III ii 370
Speak no more;
Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul. ibid. III iv 88
I want that glib and oily art
To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
I’ll do’t before I speak. William Shakespeare, The History of King Lear I i 216-218, Cordelia
Rude am I in speech,
And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace. William Shakespeare, Othello I iii 81
Speak of the moderns without contempt, and of the ancients without idolatry. Lord Chesterfield 1694-1773
The English (it must be owned) are rather a foul-mouthed nation. William Hazlitt, Table Talk II
Son of Atreus, what manner of speech has escaped the barrier of your teeth? Homer, The Iliad
Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another. ibid.
An aspersion upon my parts of speech! Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Rivals
If I reprehend any thing in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs! ibid.
It takes two to speak the truth, – one to speak, and another to hear. Henry David Thoreau
Think like a wise man but express yourself like the common people. W B Yeats
Great is our admiration of the orator who speaks with fluency and discretion. Marcus Tullius Cicero
Now If I can speak, I’ll try to do so. Jeffrey R Holland, General Conference October 2009
Do you remember that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke,’ but when Demosthenes had finished speaking they said, ‘Let us march.’ Adlai Stevenson
‘You speaking to me?’ Shane 1953, cited Rich Hall, How the West Was Lost, BBC 2008
If I spoke about it, if I did, what might I tell you, I wonder. The Shape of Water 2017 starring Sally Hawkins & Michael Shannon & Richard Jenkins & Octavia Spencer & Michael Stuhlbarg & Doug Jones & David Hewlett & Nick Search & Stewart Arnott & Nigel Bennett & Lauren Lee Smith et al, director Guillermo del Toro, opening commentary
Don’t speak to me like that, Eve. I like you but I don’t like you that much. Don’t forget, the only thing that makes you interesting is me. Killing Eve s2e6: I Hope You Like Missionary! Villanelle, BBC 2019
According to Jonathon Green [Slang], the incomparable scholar of the language which fell off the back of a lorry, ‘Slang is the poetry of the gutter, is the poetry of the disenfranchised, the poetry of the have-nots.’ Jonathan Meades on Jargon: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know ***** BBC 2019
Gore Vidal described irony as ‘the weapon of the impotent.’ ibid.
The real satisfaction is to be had in the creation of texts, of slang which will be deemed offensive and of satire. Satire need not be funny but it must be mordant, vicious, aggressive and hurtful. ibid.
Slang is the expression of what we think rather than what we are enjoined to think. ibid.
Slang is the most sour poetry, it is not wishy-well, it’s demotic, it’s the spoken and very occasionally written invention of the tap-room, the bar-room, the workplace, the barracks, the private place. ibid.
Slang is about showing off, about increasing one’s idiolect … It’s an expression of verbal dexterity … The pleasure of slang is in the making. ibid.
His [Trump] proudly proclaimed racism and misogyny, his cosmic ignorance, his chilling nationalism, his blatant nepotism, his tax paying, his bullying, sheer nastiness, his complete lack of generosity, his success in turning America into a pariah state, he has launched on an undeserving world a leatherette-faced consigliere called Kelly Ann. ibid.
‘Anyone who puts himself forward to be elected to a position of political power is almost bound to be socially and emotionally insecure, or criminally motivated, or mad.’ ibid. Auberon Waugh
Don’t they [politicians] realise how tired, how clapped out their paltry jargon is? It’s the language of people who can’t think for themselves, and arrogantly believe that the rest of the populace shares their infirmity. We don’t. These people are programmed morons, their threadbare formulae are more than just pockmarks, they’re seething buboes signalling an absolute contempt for the populace whom they regard as gullible patsies to be patronisingly talked down to. They signal too a contempt for the language of the country they are meant to be governing. They signal their own poverty of thought. Are they brainwashed? They are certainly tongue-washed. ibid.
Jargon is the language of the trained liar, the professionally mendacious, the dishonest trainee who learns from his masters … That very clarity is of course the problem. ibid.
These accents are worn with such pride, such misplaced pride, in their differences and their ticks and they whimsical peculiarities that they have become foreign to one another. ibid.
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. Exodus 4:14&15
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. Psalms 39:1-4
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matthew 15:11
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8