June 06, 2004

Great communication

Among the kind things being said around the world this morning about the late President Ronald Reagan, the truest concern his linguistic skill with English. The excerpts from his speeches replayed on National Public Radio reminded me once again that he was a truly a master of spoken presentation. In fact for relaxed and comfortable yet crystal sharp delivery of political speeches, to either an audience or a TV camera, he may have been the best there ever was. Direct and personal, scarcely ever a hesitation or a flub. And people who knew him well report that this was not just a matter of being a TelePrompter-driven automaton: he displayed similar skills when winging it with no script at all. The "great communicator" sobriquet was well deserved.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at June 6, 2004 11:34 AM