Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Vocabulary and speech

If Winston Churchill crafted brilliant speeches to the nation and Parliament during WWII, it was not by virtue of his appartently very great - i.e. many words - vocabulary. (Who said that his was a great vocabulary? - Probably Churchill himself - Who counted? Why bother?) It conjures up the idea that there is a minimum number of words that need to be known in order to write a great speech. How many is that? When does one know that one has passed the threshold?

Muhammad Ali delivered a powerful speech once, so it is said by someone in Scorcese's film "When We Were Kings", comprising just two words: "Me. We." Inspired!