Monday, March 24, 2014

Quote of the Day (Robert Benchley, on Englishmen’s ‘Refined Cadence’)

“This slurring of words into a refined cadence until they cease to be words at all is due partly to the Englishman's disinclination to move his lips. Evidently the lips and teeth are held stationary for the most part, open just wide enough to let in air for breathing (many Englishmen must breathe through their mouths, otherwise they would not breathe at all) with an occasional sharp pursing of the lips on a syllable which does not call for pursing the lips. This lethargic attitude toward articulation makes more or less of a fool out of a word which is dependent on pronunciation for its success. It makes a rather agreeable sound of it, but practically eliminates it as an agent for expressing thought.”— Robert Benchley (1889-1945), The Benchley Roundup, edited by Nathaniel Benchley (1954)

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