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Vernacular EloquenceWhat Speech Can Bring to Writing$
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Peter Elbow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782505

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199782505.001.0001

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Speech as a Product

Speech as a Product

Nine Virtues in Careless Unplanned Spoken Language that Can Significantly Improve Careful Writing

(p.77) 4 Speech as a Product
Vernacular Eloquence

Peter Elbow

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses nine virtues associated with careless unplanned spoken language that can be exploited to improve careful writing: spoken language tends to connect better with the audience; speaking promotes flexible syntax; unplanned spoken language is more simple with nominalization; speaking promotes right-branching syntax, which is easier to process; unplanned spoken language tends toward parataxis rather than hypotaxis; unplanned spoken language is good for pith, gists, and nutshells; spoken language is more coherent than written language; spoken language is more coherent than written language in a different and surprisingly obvious way; and spoken language can represent the world as process. The complementarity of speech and writing is also explored, together with the history of how we got spaces between our written words.

Keywords:   writing, audience, speaking, syntax, nominalization, parataxis, hypotaxis, written language, speech, unplanned spoken language

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