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The decline of languages



I attributed the decline in spoken language partly to the loss of poetry recitation. John Wonder says: "I think you are right about poetry--and one must not forget singing. They are sadly neglected in language learning. I still can remember lines from Racine and the Cid, some of which I heard on records. Although they often represent language no longer current, they still give a sort of template to measure modern prose. RH: We should also remember that before electronic amplifiers, speakers had to speak clearly to be heard. This was especially true of churches. In Catholic Europe I used to sit right under the pulpit to observe how the preacher's lips and tongue moved. The preachers appreciated my devotion. "Oratory" referred originally to the reading or singing of sacred texts. It gave rise to the Congregation of the Oratory, founded in Rome by Saint Philip Neri (1515-95). The sung version of oratorio was the oratorio.. There is nothing sacred, clear or pleasant about the English one hears on television. It is the amplified voice of the devil incarnate.

Ronald Hilton - 6/7/03


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