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Speech is a naturally acquired skill



We learn to speak before we learn to write, and speech is a naturally acquired skill, whereas we have to be taught to read and write. For these reasons, linguists refer to the primacy of speech. The inability to write or read is certainly a social disadvantage, but the inability to speak is a fundamental deprivation.



Love to speak English?

If you are really interested in fancy spoken English, public speeches, such as those delivered by politicians as an important form of prepared speech or if you are preparing for vocal English exams, this will help you tremendously.

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The techniques speakers commonly use to make their speeches powerful and persuasive.

Okay, I'll list 4 of these here in this post.

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1. PARALLELISM.

Parallelism involves the use of phrases, clauses or sentences with a similar grammatical structure.


Earl Spenser began his speech at the funeral of his sister Diana (the former Princess of Wales) with the following sentences:

"I stand before you today the representative of a family in grief, in a country in mourning, before a world in shock."

Here the parallel phrases are A FAMILY IN GRIEF, A COUNTRY IN MOURNING AND A WORLD IN SHOCK.
Parallelism helps to create a strong, emphatic rhythm, and it can be used to stress key ideas. In this example, the extent of the grief caused by Diana's death is emphasised (the progression from family to country to world).

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2. REPETITION.

This can be of single words or of complete phrases or sentences. As with parallelism, the effect is often to emphasise important words or ideas and to create a powerful rhythm. Repetition can give a speech cohesion( the term refers to the techniques used to connect different part of a speech with each other) as in the famous Martin Luther Kind speech where he repeated the words "I HAVE A DREAM".

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3. CONTRAST AND ANTITHESIS.

A balanced rhythm is created by the use of words and phrases that contrast in some way. Antithesis is an especially powerful kind of contrast, as the words involved have directly opposite meanings.
Abraham Lincoln address at the Gettysburg military cemetery in 1863.

"The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

You can see the contrast here: living -dead, add-detract, little-long, remember-forget, we say here- what they did here.

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And last but not least, my favourite public speaker and true genius in spoken and written English.

4. TRIPLING.

Three-part lists ( also known as sets of three) have a memorable rhythm and often feature in speeches. In a wartime speech, Winston Churchill referred to BLOOD, TOIL, TEARS AND SWEAT. This is a four-part list, but over the years it has become a well-known expression, modified to the more easily remembered set of three: BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS.

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