Authority in Language; Authority in Speech

Do you have authority in your language when you speak and write? Want to know how… well, follow me 😉

Authority in language begins from vocabulary selections. For instance, strong verbs. Authority in language derives with word precision, words that prove your vocabulary is elite. Power words assert themselves at the end of a sentence. They punch the power into the stratosphere.

Power words command.

Power words also define. There are literally thousands of words from which to choose (notice how I flipped the word order around to let the one-syllable word, the verb, to end the sentence with authority and punch)

The tools of authority are well-honed by reading lots of books, though not necessarily the dictionary, as pictured below. By noticing the patterns of others who you admire. In talking and writing.

Back to the picture. Notice that a young female is pictured. Young and female – and blonde – do not translate into power in speech. In fact there is much derision and assumption attached to blonde.

Let’s blame it on Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn employed breathiness and near-whispered sultry speech. She swayed men, but was not admired. Breathy speech is equated with weakness and not power.

Ending a sentence with a questioning uplift of pitch is also not equated with power. Until the ’70s, when liberation came to the fore, this was the typical tone of voice used by women to denoted submission to one’s mate. Grr-r-r-l power became different after that. Praise.

Women became people to listen to and reckon with. When they altered their tone of speech and patterns of language.

The other factor in the picture is youth. Youth do not often wield authority, discounting the mandate of a baby’s cry, of course. Listen to those around you – everyone alters their voice when they talk to a baby.

Everyone changes behavior, including body language and tone and word choice when talking to a cop.

Don’t you – tell me true…

Finally, here’s a tribute to Shakespeare, the penultimate inventor of language. Read and salute!


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6 Comments on “Authority in Language; Authority in Speech

  1. A friend recently shared an article about how women tend to undermine their message by using words like “just” “a little” “sort of” – and I notice that I do that ALL the time! I keep an eye out for it now, but am still shocked at how naturally these words creep into my writing and speaking.

  2. I use qualifiers far too often and I’ve noticed it in students’ writing as well – both among young women and young men. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s seen as rude to be “braggy” or really strong in speech patterns. I’ve noticed a contrast in how people from Washington State speak compared to how people from the East coast speak. We usually have a downturn at the end of our sentences, as if we are fading out. East coast speakers usually end on a punchy sound – firm and sure of their sentence endings. While I believe we all need to use strong verbs and stand up for ourselves, I think it’s also good to be aware of the culture we are in.

    • I’m from Indiana and “just sayin'” = a pervasive Hoosier-humble phrase. My Midwestern roots run deep – land positively or negatively (depending on the audience) nuance how I speak, Just sayin’ – haha

    • It reminds me of ‘Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor’ on a long-ago show… “More Power”, he’d shout – often with comical results! Hahaha

      Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read my post to the group.

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