grace & eloquence: articulateness

So much have we covered when it comes to grace and eloquence in just three days! We have been focusing on transforming our words to what is beneficial and encouraging. Have you begun implementing such standards in your own life?

In this post we are going to speak heavily on eloquence and articulateness. In essence, we are going to ask ourselves if we sound good when we speak. This has become a major problem for a lot of people. Our language has dwindled so much that we tend to sound unintelligent in our everyday conversations.

Perhaps one of the main reasons is our lack of value for conversations. Read Jane Austen's novels and you will see that a great deal of their entertainment was discussing things. Now we head to see a film. We are not informed, we do not think much and our conversation suffers because of it.

Madeline L'Engle posed in her book Walking on Water that with each passing war language depletes. To expand on this idea, she claims that we can see, over time, the dumb-ing down of words. This proposition cannot be claimed as lacking, for we can only look at the language used by Shakespeare in his time and compare it to the fragmented, grammar-less words of today's average woman and see our speech has transformed.

Now I am not suggesting we should go back to old world language. I do not think we need to begin slipping in "thou art" or "thy self." But I do think we need to invest in a dictionary and step up our game when it comes to language---or, at the very least, stop using acronyms as often as we take a breath! Not to mention the excessive amount of times we use the word "like" in any given sentence. Not only are we belittling the English language and losing the beauty in words, but we are also making ourselves look stupid.

As you read this, please do not think I have it all together; that I speak with the eloquence and thoughtfulness of Julie Andrews therefore I can preach to the masses that sound more like the stars of the reality TV shows that dawn the screens of today. I am a far cry from being one who speaks with grace, kindness and discernment. I speak more often than I should and have some terrible habits I would like to break. My sister taunts me constantly for ending every other sentence with "you know what I mean?" And I nag on myself endlessly for following up my beliefs or thoughts with "I guess." These filler words lessen conviction giving a wavering appearance. My argument is less effective because I sound as if I am not sure of myself by these two words "I guess."

You can see that I need a lesson or two myself when it comes to eloquence, but I am simply stating a standard I hope to one day obtain, just as I hope you do. Being thoughtful in the words we choose, filling them with the marriage of truth and grace, is a God-command and should be the desire of the feminine heart.

What's more, no one wants to look dumb. It should not be our desire to appear unintelligent just so that we fit in with the masses and their mindless chatter. Jordan Christy put it perfectly in her book How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World, by saying this when it comes to the effect our words have on people's perceptions of us: "Whether or not we realize it, people are always listening and judging the words that come out of our mouths. Your boss can be just around the corner while you gab in the break room about your wild weekend. Your impressionable niece might pick up an ugly phrase or two while you candidly talk on the phone to a friend. And that date on Saturday night might not be so charmed by excessive usage of the f-bomb. All of these people (and more!) are constantly making assumptions about our character based on our daily tête-à-têtes, our uncensored musings, and our friendly chitchat." 

Simple steps towards eloquence can be reading more, using a dictionary and thesaurus, recording yourself talking and critiquing afterward. Take the necessary course of action to better your speech.

The beauty of the English is being lost and we must retrieve it. We must seek to expand our diction and make our speech more eloquent. Do you think you struggle with articulateness? Do you overuse "dumb" or filler words? How can you better your vocabulary and speech?

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