Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Fluency of Speech

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), "Thoughts on Various Subjects," Miscellanies, Vol. I (London: Benjamin Motte, 1731), pp. 293-310 (at 303-304):
The common Fluency of Speech in many Men, and most Women, is owing to a Scarcity of Matter, and Scarcity of Words; for whoever is a Master of Language, and hath a mind full of Ideas, will be apt, in speaking, to hesitate upon the Choice of both; whereas common Speakers have only one Sett of Ideas, and one Sett of Words to cloath them in; and these are always ready at the Mouth: So People come faster out of a Church when it is almost empty, than when a Crowd is at the Door.

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