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Posts Tagged ‘speech

“Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts”*…

 

Bare-handed speech synthesis: “Pink Trombone.”

[image above: source]

* Talleyrand

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As we hold our tongues, we might send exploratory birthday greetings to John Wesley “Wes” Powell; he was born on this date in 1834.  A geologist and ethnologist, he published the first classification of American Indian languages and was the first director of the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology (1879-1902).  In 1869, despite having lost his right arm in the Civil War, Powell outfitted a small party of men in wooden boats in Wyoming, and descended down into the then unknown Colorado River. Daring that mighty river for a thousand miles of huge, often horrifying rapids, unsuspected dangers, and endless hardship, he and his men were the first (white explorers) to challenge the Grand Canyon.

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“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever”*…

 

In A System of Elocution, with Special Reference to Gesture, to the Treatment of Stammering, and Defective Articulation (1846), Andrew Comstock set out to illustrate the proper gestures to adopt when public speaking.  Comstock emloyed a figure “acting out” a section from Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which Satan, expelled from Heaven and finding himself in Hell, delivers a speech to awaken his legions…

A physician and professor of elocution at the Vocal and Polyglot Gymnasium in Philadelphia, Comstock was hugely influential in the burgeoning science of elocution in mid-nineteenth-century America.  Among other questionable creations, he invented his own phonetic alphabet to improve the speech of his pupils, an alphabet which was also used to transcribe documents, including the New Testament.

More at “Speech of Satan to his Legions… (with Gestures).”

* Winston Churchill

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As we e-nun-ci-ate, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that Jane Heap And Margaret Anderson were sentenced by a federal court.  Heap and Anderson were publishers of The Little Review.  In 1918, they received a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses from their mutual friend Ezra Pound, and undertook to serialize it in their magazine.  Ulysses ran in the periodical– which also published  Pound, Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, William Butler Yeats, Sherwood Anderson, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Francis Picabia, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams– until 1920, when the U.S. Post Office seized and burned four issues of the magazine and charged Anderson and Heap with obscenity.  At the conclusion of the trial, in 1921, the women were fined $100 and and forced to discontinue the serialization.

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Written by LW

February 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

The Word of Muad’Dib…

 

What happens when you mash up Bill Watterson‘s Calvin and Hobbes with Frank Herbert’s Dune?  It gets even more philosophically resonant…

Embark on the adventure at Calvin & Muad’Dib.  [Muad’Dib? click here.]

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As we chuckle contemplatively, we might recall that it was on this date in 1960 that Cuban President Fidel Castro gave his debut speech at the U.N.– at four and a half hours, the longest ever in the General Assembly. Castro had taken a friendlier tone on his first U.S. visit, a year earlier; but by 1960, he had moved firmly into the Soviet Camp,  He used his maiden U.N. address to blast U.S. imperialism and to insult John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the presidential candidates at the time.

Were Kennedy not a millionaire, illiterate, and ignorant, then he would obviously understand that you cannot revolt against the peasants.

 source

Written by LW

September 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

Say what?…

source

Trying to master a role in a Tennessee Williams play?  Place someone by their accent?  Steven Weinberger, a linguist at George Mason University can help.  He’s created The Speech Accent Archive, where one can click on a map to hear some native, some non-native English speakers from all over the world– but in each case reciting the same short English paragraph, crafted to contain every sound in the Queen’s Language.

(C.F. also the previously-reported British Library Map of Accents and Dialects.)

As we smooth our sibilants, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that Northwestern University conferred an honorary degree on ventriloquist’s dummy Charlie McCarthy (whose “partner,” Edgar Bergen, had attended Northwestern, but never graduated).

Lest we doubt that Bergen and his wooden friend were worthy of the academic accolade, we might note that they have been credited by some with “saving the world”: later that same year, on the night of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles performed his War of the Worlds radio play, panicking many listeners, most of the American public had tuned instead to Bergen and McCarthy on another station.   (Dissenters note that Bergen may inadvertently have contributed to the hysteria: when the musical portion of Bergen’s show [The Chase and Sanborn Hour] aired about twelve minutes into the show, many listeners switched stations– to discover War of the Worlds in progress, with an all-too-authentic-sounding reporter detailing a horrific alien invasion.

Charlie McCarthy, BA (left), with his friend Edgar Bergen (source)

Amaze your friends and colleagues!…

Need to hammer home an arithmetical point?  Dramatize a quantitative comparison?  NumberQuotes has the juice.  One simply types in the number–any number– to be analogized, hits “return”– and up pops a series of striking similes.  For example, if one needs to be clear just how over-the-top excessive $250,000 dollars is (in whatever context), one can choose among:

– $250,000 would buy a Caffe Latte Grande for everyone living in Richardson, Texas

– 250,000 Burger King Whoppers would weigh as much as 9.29 African male elephants

– 250,00 is the number of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists employed in the US

… and so many more options.  Compelling comparisons aren’t just for Ronald Reagan any longer– now anyone can pick a number, any number, and click here.

As we spice up our speech, we might recall that it was on this date in 1930 (the number of theatrical and performance make-up artists working in the U.S…), on the passing of Empress Zewditu, that Haile Selassie (nee, Tafari Makonnen) was proclaimed Emperor of Ethiopia.  While he was, by virtue of his office, the titular head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Salasse is worshipped as God Incarnate by the Rastafarians (who named their faith by conflating “Ras”– “Head,” equivalent to “Duke”– and Salasse’s pre-Imperial first name, “Tafari”).

The Lion of God

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