Speaking and Writing: Similarities and Differences

by Alan | May 2, 2017 | Communication skills , public speaking , writing

speaking and writing

Similarities and Differences Between Speaking and Writing

There are many similarities between speaking and writing. While I’ve never considered myself a writer by trade, I have long recognized the similarities between writing and speaking. Writing my book was the single best thing I’ve ever done for my business.  It solidified our teaching model and clarified and organized our training content better than any other method I’d ever tried.

A few weeks ago I was invited by a client to attend a proposal writing workshop led by Robin Ritchey .  Since I had helped with the oral end of proposals, the logic was that I would enjoy (or gain insight) from learning about the writing side.  Boy, were they right.  Between day one and two, I was asked by the workshop host to give a few thoughts on the similarities of writing to speaking.  These insights helped me recognize some weaknesses in my writing and also to see how the two crafts complement each other.

Similarities between Speaking and Writing

Here are some of the similarities I find between speaking and writing:

  • Rule #1 – writers are encouraged to speak to the audience and their needs. Speakers should do the same thing.
  • Organization, highlight, summary (tell ‘em what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them). Structure helps a reader/listener follow along.
  • No long sentences. A written guideline is 12-15 words.  Sentences in speaking are the same way.  T.O.P.  Use punctuation.  Short and sweet.
  • Make it easy to find what they are looking for (Be as subtle as a sledgehammer!) .
  • Avoid wild, unsubstantiated claims. If you are saying the same thing as everyone else, then you aren’t going to stand out.
  • Use their language. Avoid internal lingo that only you understand.
  • The audience needs to walk away with a repeatable message.
  • Iteration and thinking are key to crafting a good message. In writing, this is done through editing.  A well prepared speech should undergo the same process.  Impromptu is slightly different, but preparing a good structure and knowing a core message is true for all situations.
  • Build from an outline; write modularly. Good prose follows from a good structure, expanding details as necessary.  Good speakers build from a theme/core message, instead of trying to reduce everything they know into a time slot.  It’s a subtle mindset shift that makes all the difference in meeting an audience’s needs.
  • Make graphics (visuals) have a point. Whether it’s a table, figure, or slide, it needs to have a point.  Project schedule is not a point.  Network diagram is not a point.  Make the “action caption” – what is the visual trying to say? – first, then add the visual support.
  • Find strong words. My editor once told me, “ An adverb means you have a weak verb. ”  In the workshop, a participant said, “ You are allowed one adverb per document. ”  Same is true in speaking – the more powerful your words, the more impact they will have.  Really (oops, there was mine).
  • Explain data, don’t rely on how obvious it is. Subtlety doesn’t work.

Differences between Speaking and Writing

There are also differences.  Here are three elements of speaking that don’t translate well to (business) writing:

  • Readers have some inherent desire to read. They picked up your book, proposal, white paper, or letter and thus have some motivation.  Listeners frequently do not have that motivation, so it is incumbent on the speaker to earn attention, and do so quickly.  Writers can get right to the point.  Speakers need to get attention before declaring the point.
  • Emotion is far easier to interpret from a speaker than an author. In business writing, I would coach a writer to avoid emotion.  While it is a motivating factor in any decision, you cannot accurately rely on the interpretation of sarcasm, humor, sympathy, or fear to be consistent across audience groups.  Speakers can display emotion through gestures, voice intonations, and facial expressions to get a far greater response.  It is interesting to note that these skills are also the most neglected in speakers I observe – it apparently isn’t natural, but it is possible.
  • Lastly, a speaker gets the benefit of a live response. She can answer questions, or respond to a quizzical look.  She can spend more time in one area and speed through another based on audience reaction.  And this also can bring an energy to the speech that helps the emotion we just talked about.  With the good comes the bad.  A live audience frequently brings with it fear and insecurity – and another channel of behaviors to monitor and control.

Speaking and writing are both subsets of the larger skill of communicating.  Improving communication gives you more impact and influence. And improving is something anyone can do! Improve your speaking skills at our Powerful, Persuasive Speaking Workshop  and improve your writing skills at our Creating Powerful, Persuasive Content Workshop .

Communication matters.  What are you saying?

This article was published in the May 2017 edition of our monthly speaking tips email, Communication Matters. Have speaking tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every month. Sign up today  and receive our FREE download, “Twelve Tips that will Save You from Making a Bad Presentation.”   You can unsubscribe at any time.

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Writing vs. Speaking – The Similarities and Differences

similarities between speech and writing

If you work somewhere as a writer, you may have often heard your supervisor saying: ‘Please, try to write in the way you speak so that we can sell our products effectively.’ If you are an expert at Grammar, you may reply to your supervisor:  How can I express punctuation marks while speaking?  Both you and your supervisor are right. Writing and speaking do have similarities; however, people need to know that there are also differences between the two. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between writing and speaking: 

The Similarities between Writing and Speaking

Point #1:  Writers are motivated to speak to the audience as per their needs while writing, and the speakers do the same thing.

Point #2:  You need to highlight essential points in the form of a summary, whether you are writing or speaking.

Point #3:  You need to stick to the point while writing, so you need to keep the length of your sentences to eight to fifteen (8 to 15) words while writing. You need to remain clear while speaking, so you need to remain restricted to a few words to convey your message correctly.

Point #4:  While writing, you focus on keywords to convey your message, and you make a strong emphasis on words that can deliver your message well to the audience. Thus, both writers and speakers speak of the keywords.

Point #5:  Make a valid claim if you want to sell, particularly if you’re going to sell your product by writing. You need to do the same while speaking; otherwise, your audience can switch to your competitors.

Point #6:  Jargons are bad, so you shouldn’t use them while speaking and writing.  Why?  Because the whole world has no time to chat and produce slang words.

Point #7:  Whether you speak or write, you need to repeat important words to ensure your message is being conveyed to the audience.

Point #8:  You will need to come up with a good message to win your audience’s trust. Thus, you need to edit your content and proofread while reading; the same goes for speech.

Point #9:  You need a theme to start with while writing or speaking.

Point #10:  Pictures can speak a thousand words. You need to use them while you want to elaborate on something while writing. You also need to use the pictures to express your message to the target audience while giving a presentation.

Point #11:  Use strong words while you speak or write. For instance, you can use the following sentence while speaking or writing: ‘Each participant has an  equal chance  (strong words) of selection.’

Point #12:  Explain your point while writing and speaking to let the audience understand what you want to convey to them.

The Differences between Writing and Speaking

Point #1:  Readers want to read whenever they have a desire for it. For example: ‘Readers may pick up a book, white paper, and a proposal to read it.’ Thus, writers can get the readers’ attention easily. However, the listeners don’t plan to listen to you all day; hence, you need to stick to the point while speaking to the audience.

Point #2:  You can easily interpret emotion from a speaker than an author. Yes, writers can bring feelings in you; nonetheless, if you are writing a business letter, you should avoid emotional words if you want to get your reader’s attention. Business is a serious deal; therefore, you should avoid emotions in business writing.

Point #3:  If you want to feel your audience’s response with your own eyes, you can rely on speaking.  Why?  Because writers don’t convey their messages in front of the audience.

Point #4:  The proper usage of Grammar can make your write-ups better. You can’t do that while speaking because you make loads of grammatical mistakes while speaking. For instance, ‘A comma is used for a pause in writing; however, while speaking, you may avoid that pause and may spoil your speech to convey your message to the audience better.’

Finally, if you know many other similarities and differences between writing and speaking, you can share them in the form of comments.

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Differences between writing and speech

Written and spoken language differ in many ways. However some forms of writing are closer to speech than others, and vice versa. Below are some of the ways in which these two forms of language differ:

Writing is usually permanent and written texts cannot usually be changed once they have been printed/written out.

Speech is usually transient, unless recorded, and speakers can correct themselves and change their utterances as they go along.

A written text can communicate across time and space for as long as the particular language and writing system is still understood.

Speech is usually used for immediate interactions.

Written language tends to be more complex and intricate than speech with longer sentences and many subordinate clauses. The punctuation and layout of written texts also have no spoken equivalent. However some forms of written language, such as instant messages and email, are closer to spoken language.

Spoken language tends to be full of repetitions, incomplete sentences, corrections and interruptions, with the exception of formal speeches and other scripted forms of speech, such as news reports and scripts for plays and films.

Writers receive no immediate feedback from their readers, except in computer-based communication. Therefore they cannot rely on context to clarify things so there is more need to explain things clearly and unambiguously than in speech, except in written correspondence between people who know one another well.

Speech is usually a dynamic interaction between two or more people. Context and shared knowledge play a major role, so it is possible to leave much unsaid or indirectly implied.

Writers can make use of punctuation, headings, layout, colours and other graphical effects in their written texts. Such things are not available in speech

Speech can use timing, tone, volume, and timbre to add emotional context.

Written material can be read repeatedly and closely analysed, and notes can be made on the writing surface. Only recorded speech can be used in this way.

Some grammatical constructions are only used in writing, as are some kinds of vocabulary, such as some complex chemical and legal terms.

Some types of vocabulary are used only or mainly in speech. These include slang expressions, and tags like y'know , like , etc.

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In his 1975 Report, A Language for Life, Lord Bullock said, "Not enough account is taken of the fundamental differences that exist between speech and writing."

Spoken and written language are obviously different, with different purposes. Written language is permanent: the reader can go back over it again and again if the meaning is not immediately clear. This is not possible with speech, which is fleeting and ephemeral. Writing does not usually involve direct interaction, except for personal letters and perhaps some computer based communication such as e-mail.

Children learn to speak before they learn to read and write. Learning to speak appears to happen naturally within the home, whereas learning to read and write is usually associated with the beginning of formal schooling. Thus, we often assume that written language is more difficult to learn, and we perceive speech as less complex than written language. This is not the case: oral language is just as linguistically complex as written language, but the complexity is of a different kind. The inevitable differences in the structures and use of speech and writing come about because they are produced in very different communicative situations.

The greatest differences between speaking and writing are those between formal written texts and very informal conversation. Because it is permanent, writing provides opportunities for more careful organisation and more complex structures.

Formal spoken language is often preplanned, but most spoken language is spontaneous and rapid and usually involves thinking on the spot. It has simpler constructions and fillers such as um and er. It has repetitions and rephrasing. It has intonation patterns and pauses that convey meaning and also attitudes.

All these oral characteristics help the listener to understand the speech. It is usually much more difficult for listeners to interpret language that is read aloud from a written text, where the language is more dense and lacks the pauses and fillers that give us time to absorb the spoken message. Lectures or talks that are read from a script are usually more difficult to follow than those that are delivered with the speaker looking at the audience and improvising from outline notes.

Some constructions probably occur only in writing.

Henry supposed Sylvia to be unwell.

Likewise, some words and constructions are likely to occur only in spoken English: words like thingamajig and whatchamecallit, and phrases like bla bla bla.

"Our teacher just said - told us there was nouns and verbs and adverbs and bla bla bla - you know ..."

Conversations also contain small words which do not appear in writing. In analysing conversations, we are often surprised to realise how many times words like well or just or oh appear.

The following transcript is of the talk of teenagers playing the board game "Scruples".

C: Do you put them face down - hang on

C: Then we get one ballot card each and you put them aside until the vote is called

V: Oh - sorry

C: Did we decide you were the dealer - yes - we did

V: Oh - that was right

C: Oh it's just that the player to the left of the dealer starts play by becoming the first - asking the player to pose a dilemma

H: Oh - what do I do - oh I take one of these

C: Oh - hang on hang on

Words like oh and well have been assigned a number of names. They can be called discourse markers or conversation markers.

They do not fit into the word classes in The Grammar Toolbox.

She is not well. (well = adjective)

She is well qualified. (well = adverb)

In conversation, "well" appears frequently but not as an adjective or an adverb.

Well what do you think? Well I'm not really sure.

These conversational markers are very hard to translate into another language, and they are difficult to define consistently or analyse structurally. Yet they occur constantly in speech. When second language learners begin to use these markers in speaking English, the fluency of their conversation improves.

Comparing Speaking and Writing

Speaking and writing are different, and each should be seen in its own terms.

In the past, writing was often regarded as the primary medium, and casual speech was seen as a sloppy or incorrect version of the written form. Speech was evaluated as if it were writing.

The basic unit of written language is the sentence.

The basic unit of spoken language is the tone group.

The following two text samples are from the same person and tell about the same incident.

Transcript of a recording:

um, well it was something that happened |

when I was living in Western Samoa |

um, I rented a house |

and, er, my bedroom |

my bedroom was actually separate |

separate from the rest of the house |

and, one night |

um, it was quite late |

I was lying in bed |

I was awake |

and, er, my flatmate |

was away at the airport |

meeting some relatives |

and so I was all alone |

and I started hearing noises |

on the roof |

of my bedroom |

it was a tin roof |

and um, I heard footsteps |

and creaking sounds |

on the the tin |

and an, another noise |

I couldn’t quite |

tell what it was |

but it but it was something strange |

and I was scared |

really scared |

um, and my problem was |

I couldn’t |

get to a phone |

unlocking my bedroom door |

walking across the lawn |

unlocking the front door |

and going into the house |

the thought of doing this |

while there was somebody on the roof |

[laughs] er, w-was not very, er |

possible so |

there I am |

lying there |

what on earth will I do |

and I finally |

figured that |

probably the person there |

thought there was no one home |

and was just trying to break in |

trying to rob the place |

so I had a brainwave |

[laughs] and immediately the person ran |

across the roof |

and jumped off |

er, and landed on the lawn |

I heard a thud |

um, so then I unlocked the door |

and went across to the house |

and phoned the police |

well they were |

they were there |

really quickly |

I'd say within a couple of minutes |

A written account of the incident by the same person:

When I lived in Western Samoa I shared a rented house with a flatmate.

Late one night when he was away meeting some relatives at the airport, I heard strange noises like footsteps on the tin roof of my bedroom, which was separate from the rest of the house.

In order to get to a phone, I would have had to walk over to the main part of the house and unlock the front door.

I decided against this course of action, switching the light on instead, and this had the desired effect of driving away the intruder, who obviously had been thinking there was no one home.

Whoever it was ran across the roof and jumped off, landing with an audible thud on the lawn before running away.

The police arrived very soon after I had called them.

These two examples clearly illustrate the following differences between speech and writing:

Speech uses tone groups, and a tone group can convey only one idea. Writing uses sentences, and a sentence can contain several ideas.

A fundamental difference between casual speech and writing is that speech is spontaneous whereas writing is planned.

Repetition is usually found in speech. Writing avoids repetition.

Repetition of words and phrases:

27 and 28: scared

34 and 36: unlocking

Repetition of syntactic frames:

34: unlocking my bedroom door

35: walking across the lawn

Written language avoids repetition. Writers try to find synonyms rather than repeating the same words and phrases.

The spoken text gives us an insight into the speaker's thoughts.

24 and 25: I couldn't quite tell what it was.

27: I was scared.

46 and 47: and I finally figured that

In spoken language, we use intensifiers.

27 and 28: and I was scared | really scared

Because spoken language is interactive, direct address is used - "I" and "you".

22: you know

Spoken narrative can use the timeless present, which would be unusual in a written text. It adds to the immediacy of the story.

42, 43, 44: there I am | lying there | thinking

A spoken version usually gives an account of events in the order in which they occurred because this is easier to do.

59 to 64: then I unlocked the door | went across to the house | and phoned the police | and they were there | really quickly |

In the written form, the order of events can be changed.

Sentence (f): The police arrived very soon after I had called them.

The spoken and written versions differ in syntax.

The tone groups in the spoken version are sometimes complete clauses but almost always very simple ones.

2: SVA; 5: SVC; 15: SVO

Often, the tone groups are a mixture of clauses and clause fragments that add more information to the clause.

5: my bedroom was actually separate

6: separate from the rest of the house

In the written form, the information is not presented one idea at a time but in a much more condensed way, incorporating several ideas.

3: I rented a house.

Sentence (a): When I lived in Western Samoa I shared a rented house with a flatmate.

The information in sentence (b) is conveyed by 21 tone groups in the spoken account (7-28).

In the spoken text, there is the possibility of direct speech that would be unusual in a written text.

there I am | lying there | thinking | what on earth will I do. (42-45)

This enables the speaker to gain a powerful effect by using the full possibilities of intonation.

The ability to use complex clauses and embedded phrases and clauses is acquired much later in life. We can use these structures because we have time to plan when we write. When we speak, we do not have time to plan: we structure our discourse as we go along, repeating words and phrases and using the simpler constructions that we learn early in life. In the transcript above, we can see this clearly with the subjects of the clauses. In almost all cases, these are simple: by far the majority are I or it. More complex are my bedroom (4) and my problem (29). The most complicated is: the thought of doing this while there was somebody on the roof. It is interesting that after this, the speaker needs to pause; she laughs and gets in something of a muddle: w-was not very er possible (40, 41).

The two texts illustrate sharp differences between speaking and writing. This narrative may not have been entirely spontaneous because the story had been told before, and this rehearsal could explain some of the complexities in the spoken version. Even so, it is much more fragmented and oriented towards a listener than the written version. The written version is planned, integrated, and primarily oriented towards conveying a message.

Spoken and written language can be seen as the ends of a continuum. Above, we have described features of spontaneous speech and planned writing. Often, however, the distinctions between spoken and written language are not so clear cut. A university lecture, a prepared speech, a sermon might be examples of spoken English, in so far as they are delivered verbally. But because they usually began in a written form, they are likely to be closer to written language than to casual spoken language. Personal letters, diaries, and e-mail correspondences are in the written form but are very likely to contain features of spoken language.

In this section, we have deliberately concentrated on the language of conversation rather than the language of oratory, prepared speeches, debates, or other formal forms. We made this decision for two reasons. One was that some teachers appear to think of the classroom study of oral language almost exclusively in terms of prepared and planned speaking but do not consider spontaneous speech. The second was that teachers probably know very little about the structure of conversation. It is important that conversation be understood, not only because it is the most common use of spoken language in our lives but also so that teachers recognise the important distinctions between speaking and writing. Neither form of language is better than the other: the two forms are different and should each be seen in their own terms.

What do these differences mean for speakers and writers?

From Speakers to Writers

When children are learning to write, their starting points are their understanding of the syntax and structure of oral language. The ability to write begins from a sound foundation in oral language. The interrelationships of speech and writing can be seen in writers' acquisition of written language at the "emergent" and "early" stages. Initially, children's oral language greatly outstrips their ability in written language. As children master the mechanics of writing and develop a method of approximating spelling, they are able to put down on paper what they can already say. At the "early" stage of writing, children's writing catches up with their spoken language, and their writing has many of the personal, context-bound qualities of their speech. Students' writing and speech diverge as they become fluent writers. Their writing takes on its own distinctive structures and patterns of organisation. Often, too, fluent writers' speech incorporates some features of their writing.

The popular belief that written language is speech plus the conventions of print underestimates the demonstrable differences between oral and written language. Although oral work is undeniably of great value in students' learning in general, it does not specifically help them acquire the grammatical patterns they need in their writing. The models of written language patterns come from children's reading, and having read to them, good models of written language.

Natural language is often referred to as being important in texts for young learner readers. "Natural language" does not mean writing that reflects the oral language patterns of children: rather, it refers to the use of authentic "book" or written language that uses natural rhythms and conveys real meaning, in contrast to the artificial and meaningless structures that were used in many early reading texts in the past. Compare:

Mrs Delicious got a truck full of flour for the biggest cake in the world. (natural language)

Joy Cowley: The Biggest Cake in the World

(Wellington: Department of Education, 1983)

Go up to my ox. Is she on an ox?

An early reading text

The oral language patterns that are natural to young children are extremely difficult to read, and teachers should not oversimplify the links between written and spoken language. It is essential that students' early reading provides good models of written language. Although the topics and vocabulary reflect children's experiences and interests, the structure of these texts is those of written language and may be unfamiliar to some students. If teachers have an explicit awareness of these differences, they are better able to help students move from the familiarity of spoken language to the unknown forms and functions of written language. The two forms then enrich each other in a two-way process.

It is not only the nature of the spoken and written texts themselves that differs but also the understanding of the relationship between speakers and listeners on the one hand and readers and writers on the other. In discussing the co-operative principle of conversation, we outlined the understandings that listeners and speakers have of conversation. Young children's early writings show that they understand the nature of conversation and that their expectations of readers are similar to those they have of listeners.

We can help children bridge the gap between spoken and written language by keeping in mind the new understandings about texts and audiences that children are developing.

If we look again at Grice's Maxims from the point of view of writers, we can see the shifts in understanding that students need to make.

Maxim of quality

Speakers are expected to tell the truth. They should not say things they know to be false or for which they lack adequate evidence. However, the first written texts we introduce young children to are most likely to be fiction, and we expect children to write fiction. To be imaginative and creative in writing is often highly valued, whereas in conversation it is frowned upon.

Maxim of quantity

Speakers are expected to be brief, giving sufficient but not too much information. In writing, however, young children need to elaborate to make their meaning clear. One of the first things a teacher encourages a beginning writer to do is to add information to their text. This is done in much the same way as in conversation, through questioning the writer and asking for more detail.

Maxim of relation

Speakers' responses are expected to be appropriate and relevant. Much of students' spoken language is in response to something someone else has said.

It is not difficult to see why students, especially beginner writers, have difficulty generating text on their own. Thinking of new topics to talk about, and new and exciting ways of expressing ideas, are not things speakers in conversation need to consider.

Maxim of manner

Speakers' responses are expected to be clear and avoid ambiguities. Information in speech is usually given in a linear or chronological order. Young children do not use complex grammatical constructions in their talk, and therefore these are not present in their writing. It takes time to learn that, in writing, information can be organised in many different ways.

It would be extremely frustrating to hold a conversation with someone who used the strategies often used in writing to build suspense. In spoken language, we encourage speakers to "get to the point", whereas in written narrative, we encourage young children to take time setting the scene.

Challenges for the Learner

Students need to be helped to "think through" what they want to write.

When speaking, children produce oral language in interactive settings. However, when writing, they are learning to produce a text without prompts and responses from the reader.

Students need to be helped to understand that writing is more explicit than speech.

The absence of the reader poses a problem for children, who often have difficulty imagining their audience. Their writing often has the implicitness of speech with much left unsaid, because learner writers assume that their readers bring a shared understanding to the text.

Students need to be helped to become familiar with the structures of written language.

When learning to write, children are faced with learning a new syntactic, semantic, and textual unit - the sentence. Sentences are a feature of writing rather than of speech. In speech, clauses tend to follow each other in a linear way without necessarily having a known end-point. The sentence, on the other hand, needs to be capable of standing alone. It requires planning, and a decision has to be made as to which is to be the main clause and what will be its supporting structures. Understanding and using the concept of a sentence requires more than the ability to use capital letters and full stops.

Learning to write involves learning new ways of thinking. As Gunther Kress has written in Learning to Write, it involves "learning new forms of syntactical and textural structure, new genre, and new ways of relating to unknown addressees".

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similarities between speech and writing

The slippery grammar of spoken vs written English

similarities between speech and writing

Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Waikato

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My grammar checker and I are on a break. Due to irreconcilable differences, we are no longer on speaking terms.

It all started when it became dead set on putting commas before every single “which”. Despite all the angry underlining, “this is a habit which seems prevalent” does not need a comma before “which”. Take it from me, I am a linguist.

This is just one of many challenging cases where grammar is slippery and hard to pin down. To make matters worse, it appears that the grammar we use while speaking is slightly different to the grammar we use while writing. Speech and writing seem similar enough – so much so that for centuries, people (linguists included) were blind to the differences.

Read more: How students from non-English-speaking backgrounds learn to read and write in different ways

There’s issues to consider

Let me give you an example. Take sentences like “there is X” and “there are X”. You may have been taught that “there is” occurs with singular entities because “is” is the present singular form of “to be” – as in “there is milk in the fridge” or “there is a storm coming”.

Conversely, “there are” is used with plural entities: “there are twelve months in a year” or “there are lots of idiots on the road”.

What about “there’s X”? Well, “there’s” is the abbreviated version of “there is”. That makes it the verb form of choice when followed by singular entities.

Nice theory. It works for standard, written language, formal academic writing, and legal documents. But in speech, things are very different .

It turns out that spoken English favours “there is” and “there’s” over “there are”, regardless of what follows the verb: “there is five bucks on the counter” or “ there’s five cars all fighting for that Number 10 spot ”.

A question of planning

This is not because English is going to hell in a hand basket, nor because young people can’t speak “proper” English anymore.

Linguists Jen Hay and Daniel Schreier scrutinised examples of old recordings of New Zealand English to see what happens in cases where you might expect “there” followed by plural, (or “there are” or “there were” for past events) but where you find “there” followed by singular (“there is”, “there’s”, “there was”).

They found that the contracted form “there’s” is a go-to form which seems prevalent with both singular and plural entities. But there’s more. The greater the distance between “be” and the entity following it, the more likely speakers are to ignore the plural rule.

“There is great vast fields of corn” is likely to be produced because the plural entity “fields” comes so far down the expression, that speakers do not plan for it in advance with a plural form “are”.

Even more surprisingly, the use of the singular may not always necessarily have much to do with what follows “there is/are”. It can simply be about the timing of the event described. With past events, the singular form is even more acceptable. “There was dogs in the yard” seems to raise fewer eyebrows than “there is dogs in the yard”.

Nothing new here

The disregard for the plural form is not a new thing (darn, we can’t even blame it on texting). According to an article published last year by Norwegian linguist Dania Bonneess , the change towards the singular form “there is” has been with us in New Zealand English ever since the 19th century. Its history can be traced at least as far back as the second generation of the Ulster family of Irish emigrants .

Editors, language commissions and prescriptivists aside, everyday New Zealand speech has a life of its own, governed not so much by style guides and grammar rules, but by living and breathing individuals.

It should be no surprise that spoken language is different to written language. The most spoken-like form of speech (conversation) is very unlike the most written-like version of language (academic or other formal or technical writing) for good reason.

Speech and writing

In conversation, there is no time for planning. Expressions come out more or less off the cuff (depending on the individual), with no ability to edit, and with immediate need for processing. We hear a chunk of language and at the same time as parsing it, we are already putting together a response to it – in real time.

This speed has consequences for the kind of language we use and hear. When speaking, we rely on recycled expressions, formulae we use over and over again, and less complex structures.

For example, we are happy enough writing and reading a sentence like:

That the human brain can use language is amazing.

But in speech, we prefer:

It is amazing that the human brain can use language.

Both are grammatical, yet one is simpler and quicker for the brain to decode.

And sometimes, in speech we use grammatical crutches to help the brain get the message quicker. A phrase like “the boxes I put the files into” is readily encountered in writing, but in speech we often say and hear “the boxes I put the files into them”.

We call these seemingly unnecessary pronouns (“them” in the previous example) “shadow pronouns”. Even linguistics professors use these latter expressions no matter how much they might deny it.

Speech: a faster ride

There is another interesting difference between speech and writing: speech is not held up on the same rigid prescriptive pedestal as writing, nor is it as heavily regulated in the same way that writing is scrutinised by editors, critics, examiners and teachers.

This allows room in speech for more creativity and more language play, and with it, faster change. Speech is known to evolve faster than writing, even though writing will eventually catch up (at least for some changes).

I would guess that by now, most editors are happy enough to let the old “whom” form rest and “who” take over (“who did you give that book to?”).

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Speaking versus Writing

The pen is mightier than the spoken word. or is it.

Josef Essberger

The purpose of all language is to communicate - that is, to move thoughts or information from one person to another person.

There are always at least two people in any communication. To communicate, one person must put something "out" and another person must take something "in". We call this "output" (>>>) and "input" (<<<).

  • I speak to you (OUTPUT: my thoughts go OUT of my head).
  • You listen to me (INPUT: my thoughts go INto your head).
  • You write to me (OUTPUT: your thoughts go OUT of your head).
  • I read your words (INPUT: your thoughts go INto my head).

So language consists of four "skills": two for output (speaking and writing); and two for input (listening and reading. We can say this another way - two of the skills are for "spoken" communication and two of the skills are for "written" communication:

Spoken: >>> Speaking - mouth <<< Listening - ear

Written: >>> Writing - hand <<< Reading - eye

What are the differences between Spoken and Written English? Are there advantages and disadvantages for each form of communication?

When we learn our own (native) language, learning to speak comes before learning to write. In fact, we learn to speak almost automatically. It is natural. But somebody must teach us to write. It is not natural. In one sense, speaking is the "real" language and writing is only a representation of speaking. However, for centuries, people have regarded writing as superior to speaking. It has a higher "status". This is perhaps because in the past almost everybody could speak but only a few people could write. But as we shall see, modern influences are changing the relative status of speaking and writing.

Differences in Structure and Style

We usually write with correct grammar and in a structured way. We organize what we write into sentences and paragraphs. We do not usually use contractions in writing (though if we want to appear very friendly, then we do sometimes use contractions in writing because this is more like speaking.) We use more formal vocabulary in writing (for example, we might write "the car exploded" but say "the car blew up") and we do not usually use slang. In writing, we must use punctuation marks like commas and question marks (as a symbolic way of representing things like pauses or tone of voice in speaking).

We usually speak in a much less formal, less structured way. We do not always use full sentences and correct grammar. The vocabulary that we use is more familiar and may include slang. We usually speak in a spontaneous way, without preparation, so we have to make up what we say as we go. This means that we often repeat ourselves or go off the subject. However, when we speak, other aspects are present that are not present in writing, such as facial expression or tone of voice. This means that we can communicate at several levels, not only with words.

One important difference between speaking and writing is that writing is usually more durable or permanent. When we speak, our words live for a few moments. When we write, our words may live for years or even centuries. This is why writing is usually used to provide a record of events, for example a business agreement or transaction.

Speaker & Listener / Writer & Reader

When we speak, we usually need to be in the same place and time as the other person. Despite this restriction, speaking does have the advantage that the speaker receives instant feedback from the listener. The speaker can probably see immediately if the listener is bored or does not understand something, and can then modify what he or she is saying.

When we write, our words are usually read by another person in a different place and at a different time. Indeed, they can be read by many other people, anywhere and at any time. And the people reading our words, can do so at their leisure, slowly or fast. They can re-read what we write, too. But the writer cannot receive immediate feedback and cannot (easily) change what has been written.

How Speaking and Writing Influence Each Other

In the past, only a small number of people could write, but almost everybody could speak. Because their words were not widely recorded, there were many variations in the way they spoke, with different vocabulary and dialects in different regions. Today, almost everybody can speak and write. Because writing is recorded and more permanent, this has influenced the way that people speak, so that many regional dialects and words have disappeared. (It may seem that there are already too many differences that have to be learned, but without writing there would be far more differences, even between, for example, British and American English.) So writing has had an important influence on speaking. But speaking can also influence writing. For example, most new words enter a language through speaking. Some of them do not live long. If you begin to see these words in writing it usually means that they have become "real words" within the language and have a certain amount of permanence.

Influence of New Technology

Modern inventions such as sound recording, telephone, radio, television, fax or email have made or are making an important impact on both speaking and writing. To some extent, the divisions between speaking and writing are becoming blurred. Emails are often written in a much less formal way than is usual in writing. With voice recording, for example, it has for a long time been possible to speak to somebody who is not in the same place or time as you (even though this is a one-way communication: we can speak or listen, but not interact). With the telephone and radiotelephone, however, it became possible for two people to carry on a conversation while not being in the same place. Today, the distinctions are increasingly vague, so that we may have, for example, a live television broadcast with a mixture of recordings, telephone calls, incoming faxes and emails and so on. One effect of this new technology and the modern universality of writing has been to raise the status of speaking. Politicians who cannot organize their thoughts and speak well on television win very few votes.

English Checker

  • aspect: a particular part or feature of something
  • dialect: a form of a language used in a specific region
  • formal: following a set of rules; structured; official
  • status: level or rank in a society
  • spontaneous: not planned; unprepared
  • structured: organized; systematic

Note : instead of "spoken", some people say "oral" (relating to the mouth) or "aural" (relating to the ear).

© 2011 Josef Essberger

Speaking And Writing Compared

Spoken and written language both have as their central function the communication of information about people and the world, and so it is common-sensical to assume that there are important similarities between speaking and writing. On the other hand, children and adults often find writing much harder than speaking, suggesting there are major differences between the productions of spoken and written language. Speaking and writing will now be compared.

Similarities

The view that speaking and writing are similar receives some support if we compare the theoretical approach to speech production of Dell et al. (1997) with the theory of writing proposed by Hayes and Flower (1986). In both theories, it is assumed there is an initial attempt to decide on the overall meaning that is to be communicated. At this stage, the actual words to be spoken or written are not considered. This is followed by the production of language, which often proceeds on a clause-by-clause basis.

Gould (1978) compared dictated and written business letters. Even those highly practised at dictation rarely dictated more than 35% faster than they wrote. This is noteworthy, given that people can speak five or six times faster than they can write. Gould (1980) divided the time taken to dictate and to write letters into various component times. His participants were videotaped while composing letters, and the generating, reviewing, accessing, editing, and planning times were calculated. Planning, which was assumed to occur during pauses not obviously devoted to other processes, accounted for more of the total time than any other process. Planning time represented about two-thirds of the total composition time for both dictated and written letters, and this explains why dictation was only slightly faster than writing.

Gould (1978) compared the quality of letter writing across three different response modes: writing; dictating; and speaking. Those who wrote very good letters also tended to dictate and to speak very good letters. The quality of letter writing is determined mainly by internal planning processes, and these processes are essentially the same regardless of the type of response. In addition, the knowledge that someone possesses (e.g., vocabulary; specific knowledge of the topic) is available for use whether that person is writing, speaking, or dictating. However, some of the findings may be specific to business letters. The absence of visual feedback with dictation might be a real disadvantage when composing essays or longer pieces of writing.

Differences

How do speaking and writing differ? Spoken language makes use of prosody (rhythm, intonation, and so on) to convey meaning and grammatical information, and gesture is also used for emphasis. In contrast, writers have to rely heavily on punctuation to supply the information provided by prosody in spoken language. Writers also make much more use than speakers of words or phrases signalling what is coming next (e.g., but; on the other hand). This helps to compensate for the lack of prosody in written language. Four of the most obvious differences between speaking and writing are as follows:

• Speakers typically know precisely who is receiving their message.

• Speakers generally receive moment-by-moment feedback from the listener or listeners (e.g., expressions of bewilderment).

• Speakers generally have much less time than writers to plan their language production.

• "Writing is in essence a more conscious process than speaking. spontaneous discourse is usually spoken, self-monitored discourse is usually written" (Halliday, 1987, pp. 67-69).

As a result, spoken language is generally fairly informal and simple in structure, with information often being communicated rapidly. In contrast, written language is more formal and complex in structure. Writers need to write clearly because they do not receive immediate feedback, and this slows down the communication rate.

Cognitive neuropsychologists have found that some brain-damaged patients have writing skills that are largely intact in spite of an almost total inability to speak and a lack of inner speech. Others can speak fluently, but find writing very difficult. In addition, there are other patients whose patterns of errors in speaking and in writing differ so much that it is hard to believe that a single system could underlie both language activities. However, these findings do not mean that the higher-level processes involved in language production (e.g., planning; use of knowledge) differ between speaking and writing.

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Readers' Questions

What are the similarities and differences between writing and speaking?
Similarities between writing and speaking: 1. Both involve communication: Both writing and speaking are mediums used for expressing ideas, thoughts, and messages to others. 2. Use of language: Both writing and speaking rely on the use of language to convey meaning and communicate effectively. They both require a strong understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. 3. Purpose: Both writing and speaking serve similar purposes, such as to inform, persuade, entertain, or engage an audience. 4. Organization: Both writing and speaking require the information to be organized in a logical manner, with clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Differences between writing and speaking: Presence of audience: Speaking involves direct interaction with an audience, while writing often requires the writer to imagine the reader. Speaking allows for immediate feedback and adjustments, while writing lacks real-time interaction. Medium: Speaking occurs in real-time, where communication is delivered through auditory and nonverbal cues, whereas writing is a visual medium that is read and interpreted at the reader's own pace. Permanence: Written messages are usually permanent, allowing the reader to revisit and refer back to the content at any time. Speaking, on the other hand, is transient, and once uttered, the words cannot be retracted or modified. Level of formality: Writing tends to be more formal due to its nature of being planned, structured, and often edited. Speaking, on the other hand, allows for more informal and spontaneous expression, with the use of slang, colloquialisms, or conversational language. Nonverbal cues: Speaking involves various nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice, which can enhance or alter the meaning of the message. In writing, nonverbal cues are absent, and the message relies solely on the written words.
How would the process differ between language production and writing?
Language production involves using the spoken word to produce language—such as talking out loud or using vocal sounds—while writing involves using a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, to communicate through written words. The process of language production relies on the speaker's use of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation to communicate, while writing requires the writer to physically produce written words that reflect the intended message. Additionally, language production can include gestures and non-verbal communication, while writing is composed only of written words.
What are the similarities of speaking and writing?
There are several similarities between speaking and writing: Communication: Both speaking and writing serve as means of communication to convey thoughts, ideas, and information to others. Language: Both rely on the use of a specific language and its rules, vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Expression: Both provide a platform for self-expression and the ability to express personal opinions, emotions, and experiences. Purpose: Both speaking and writing can have various purposes such as informing, persuading, entertaining, or expressing oneself. Audience: Both require the consideration of the target audience to effectively convey the message and ensure understanding. Content organization: Both speaking and writing involve organizing thoughts and ideas in a structured and coherent manner to convey a clear message. Use of tone: Both speaking and writing can utilize different tones such as formal, informal, persuasive, or informative to cater to the context and audience. Use of non-verbal cues: While writing lacks non-verbal cues like body language and facial expressions, it can still incorporate elements such as punctuation, formatting, and the choice of words to convey similar messages. Revision and editing: Both speaking and writing often require revising and editing to improve clarity, coherence, and effectiveness of the message. Influence: Both speaking and writing have the potential to influence and impact others' opinions, perceptions, and actions.
What is the similarties between writing and speaking discource?
Both writing and speaking discourse involve conveying ideas in an organized and coherent way. Both rely on effective communication and the use of language to make an argument or point. Both also require the writer or speaker to be knowledgeable about their topic and to have an understanding of their audience. Additionally, both writing and speaking discourse require careful use of grammar and syntax to ensure clarity.
What is speaking in cognitive psychology?
Speaking in cognitive psychology refers to how people process language, including how they interpret, store, and recall language. This includes things like how quickly a person can understand and remember words, how well they can detect and understand syntax and grammar, and how they use language to think and communicate. It also includes how they use language to remember things, recognize patterns, and make decisions.

On the relationship between speech and writing with implications for behavioral approaches to teaching literacy

  • Published: 08 July 2017
  • Volume 8 , pages 127–140, ( 1990 )

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  • Roy A. Moxley 1  

3 Citations

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Two theories of the relationship between speech and writing are examined. One theory holds that writing is restricted to a one-way relationship with speech—a unidirectional influence from speech to writing. In this theory, writing is derived from speech and is simply a representation of speech. The other theory holds that additional, multidirectional influences are involved in the development of writing. The unidirectional theory focuses on correspondences between speech and writing while the multidirectional theory directs attention to the differences as well as the similarities between speech and writing. These theories have distinctive pedagogical implications. Although early behaviorism may be seen to have offered some support for the unidirectional theory, modern behavior analysis should be seen to support the multidirectional theory.

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Similarities Between Spoken Language and Written Language

December 21, 2017 , Dr. Howard Fields , Leave a comment

What is Spoken Language?

Spoken language is a language that is used by articulately producing different sounds. This is the first type of language that every person encounters and learns, while also being the first form of communication between humans. All the information was usually transferred only verbally, from one generation to the next, but at one point during the evolution, there was the need to preserve that information. This had been achieved through the formation of written language.

There are some minor ambiguities in the term spoken language. Mainly, whether spoken language includes some “silent” non-written languages, such as the sign language (mostly used for communication with deaf people). Some linguists argue that the sign language isn’t a spoken language, and make a distinction between vocal languages (which are a type of a spoken language) and sign languages. There are, of course, others who disagree with that and believe that any sign language is also a spoken language. It’s an open problem in linguistics that sparked many interesting debates so far. The ambiguity itself doesn’t affect the relationship between spoken and written languages or their similarities, so it can be overlooked in this case.

Similarities Between Spoken and Written Language

What is Written Language?

As I mentioned above, at a certain point in time during the evolution of humans, there was a need to preserve some information. This led to the invention of different symbols, each representing either a specific term or a specific vocal. This led to the further development of symbolic or phonetic languages, but they each fundamentally served the same purpose – to represent something that was stated using spoken language and preserve it in the form of a series of symbols. Later on, different grammatical rules started forming, dictating how those symbols could be arranged and combined, and the grammar itself also evolved with time, following the changes in spoken language. As people started talking differently, the change in spoken language would become widespread, ultimately forcing written language to be changed accordingly so as to follow the change in spoken language.

Similarities between Spoken Language and Written Language

Since written language is basically a visual representation of spoken language, they really serve the same purpose – to transfer information from one person to another. However, if something stated using spoken language was transcribed directly into written language, the form would be weird, or even incorrect, and there would be the use of slang, or repetition of certain phrases, and other constructs that exist and are common in spoken language but aren’t acceptable in written language. Also, when trying to transfer information using written language, a lot more time is allotted to the formation of sentences and their order, so something that was written down would actually have a defined structure, while spoken language is a lot more spontaneous.

Apart from that, these two types of language are fairly similar:

  • They both serve the same purpose

That is, to transfer information.

  • They both undergo the same changes

When a new term is introduced, it first starts being used verbally, becoming a part of spoken language, and, shortly after, it becomes introduced in its written form, becoming part of written language.

  • There is a strict correlation between them

Exact rules govern how you should read something that is written down, as well as how you should write down something that was spoken, so it’s easy to go from one language to the other.

Overall, spoken language does have a sort of “priority”, regarding how it first introduces and dictates changes, while written language only serves to preserve the information transferred via spoken language, practically following in its footsteps. It was invented later, and it undergoes any possible changes after they happen to spoken language. On the other hand, something that is written down usually contains a well-defined inner structure, making it easier to understand and follow, while something said in spoken language is usually spontaneous and not structured at all.

Author: Dr. Howard Fields

Dr. Howard is a Clinical Psychologist and a Professional Writer and he has been partnering with patients to create positive change in their lives for over fifteen years. Dr. Howard integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each patient.

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A Speech Is Not an Essay

  • John Coleman

Put the paper down.

Reading an essay to an audience can bore them to tears. I recently attended a conference where a brilliant man was speaking on a topic about which he was one of the world’s experts. Unfortunately, what he delivered was not a speech but an essay. This renowned academic had mastered the written form but mistakenly presumed that the same style could be used at a podium in the context of an hour-long public address. He treated the audience to exceptional content that was almost impossible to follow — monotone, flat, read from a script, and delivered from behind a tall podium.

similarities between speech and writing

  • JC John Coleman is the author of the HBR Guide to Crafting Your Purpose . Subscribe to his free newsletter, On Purpose , follow him on Twitter @johnwcoleman, or contact him at johnwilliamcoleman.com.

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Speech Vs. Essay

How to Determine the Tone of an Essay

How to Determine the Tone of an Essay

Writing a speech and writing an essay are two different experiences. While both the speech writer and the essay writer communicate information to a live audience or reading audience, the steps the writers go through to create the final version require varying methods, such as the choice of diction and dramatic effect.

Speech writing requires that a writer communicates a specific theme or topic to an audience. She uses a tone in her writing that produces an emotional effect on the audience. A presidential speech, for example, often uses a particular diction, full of patriotic, hopeful, grave or uplifting tones. While an essay also relies on tone for dramatic effect, the essay writer has less of a demand to please all members of her audience than the speech writer. For example, if you write a personal essay about a life-changing trip, you do not need for every person to admire your essay and the tone in which you compose it --- it is more written to make a point than to win over an audience. In general, a speech appeals to a specific audience in a certain place and time, while an essay communicates with a general audience.

Each essay format --- narrative, expository or personal --- follows a basic structure. It usually includes an introduction with a thesis statement, body paragraphs and a conclusion that synthesizes the information. A speech also has a particular format, with an introduction, examples and a conclusion, but the speech writer will often restate a point at the end of each section of the speech to ensure the audience is "with" him or her. Because the essayist understands that the writer can reread the last paragraph, or reread the entire essay again, he does not need to reiterate statements. Rather, an essay's structure relies on smooth transitions to the next theme.

Giving a Speech

The speech writer "performs" or delivers his speech in a way that gives his ideas, or themes, a particular meaning. For example, Martin Luther King wrote his "Dream" speech in the first-person "I" voice to produce an emotional impact on his listeners. In essay writing, a writer connects with her audience, whether live or on the page, without trying to win them over with her delivery.

A politician connects with an audience with words, gestures and eye contact.

Reading an Essay

An essay presenter only needs to look up from his paper every few minutes, while a person delivering a speech must deliver by memorization, only occasionally glancing at the page or screen. While an individual can read an essay either in an impassioned and enthusiastic or a sad and grave tone, the audience, in general, is more interested in hearing the quality of writing and information than the delivery, as they are for a speech.

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How to Analyze Expository Writing

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How to Write a Speech Essay

How to Write a Speech Essay

  • Scholastic; Speechwriting With Karen Finney and Lou Giansante
  • Inc.; Writing and Organizing a Winning Speech;Patricia Fripp; October 2000
  • The University of Hong Kong Centre for Applied English Studies; Characteristics of Different Types of Essays
  • Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Essay Structure; Elizabeth Abrams; 2000

Noelle Carver has been a freelance writer since 2009, with work published in "SSYK" and "The Wolf," two U.K. literary journals. Carver holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from American University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.

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Relationship and Difference Between Speech and Writing in Linguistics

Back to: Pedagogy of English- Unit 4

Many differences exist between the written language and the spoken language. These differences impact subtitling which is a practice that has become highly prevalent in the modern age. It is a process used to translate what the speaker is saying for those of other languages or who are deaf.

The main difference between written and spoken languages is that written language is comparatively more formal and complex than spoken language. Some other differences between the two are as follows:

Relationship and Difference Between Speech and Writing in Linguistics

Writing is more permanent than the spoken word and is changed less easily. Once something is printed, or published on the internet, it is out there for the world to see permanently. In terms of speaking, this permanency is present only if the speaker is recorded but they can restate their position.

Apart from formal speeches, spoken language needs to be produced instantly. Due to this, the spoken word often includes repetitions, interruptions, and incomplete sentences. As a result, writing is more polished.

Punctuation

Written language is more complex than spoken language and requires punctuation. Punctuation has no equivalent in spoken language.

Speakers can receive immediate feedback and can clarify or answer questions as needed but writers can’t receive immediate feedback to know whether their message is understood or not apart from text messages, computer chats, or similar technology.

Writing is used to communicate across time and space for as long as the medium exists and that particular language is understood whereas speech is more immediate.

Use of Slang

Written and spoken communication uses different types of language. For instance, slang and tags are more often used when speaking rather than writing.

Speaking and listening skills are more prevalent in spoken language whereas writing and reading skills are more prevalent in written language.

Tone and pitch are often used in spoken language to improve understanding whereas, in written language, only layout and punctuation are used.

These are the major differences between spoken language and written language.

  • Rule #1 - writers are encouraged to speak to the audience and their needs.  Speakers should do the same thing.
  • Organization, highlight, summary (tell 'em what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them).  Structure helps a reader/listener follow along. 
  • No long sentences.  A written guideline is 12-15 words.  Sentences in speaking are the same way.  S.T.O.P.  Use punctuation.  Short and sweet. 
  • Avoid wild, unsubstantiated claims.  If you are saying the same thing as everyone else, then you aren't going to stand out. 
  • Use their language.  Avoid internal lingo that only you understand.
  • The audience needs to walk away with a repeatable message.
  • Iteration and thinking are key to crafting a good message.  In writing, this is done through editing.  A good prepared speech should undergo the same process.  Impromptu is slightly different, but preparing a good structure and knowing a core message is true for all situations.
  • Build from an outline; write modularly.  Good prose follows from a good structure, expanding details as necessary.  Good speakers build from a theme/core message, instead of trying to reduce everything they know into a time slot.  It's a subtle mindset shift that makes all the difference in meeting an audience's needs.
  • Make graphics (visuals) have a point.  Whether it's a table, figure, or slide, it needs to have a point.  Project schedule is not a point.  Network diagram is not a point.  Make the "action caption" - what is the visual trying to say? - first, then add the visual support. 
  • Find strong words.  My editor once told me, "An adverb means you have a weak verb."  In the workshop, a participant said, "You are allowed one adverb per document."  Same is true in speaking - the more powerful your words, the more impact they will have.  Really (oops, there was mine).
  • Explain data, don't rely on how obvious it is.  Subtlety doesn't work.
  • Readers have some inherent desire to read.  They picked up your book, proposal, white paper, or letter and thus have some motivation.  Listeners frequently do not have that motivation, so it is incumbent on the speaker to earn attention, and do so quickly.  Writers can get right to the point.  Speakers need to get attention before declaring the point.
  • Emotion is far easier to interpret from a speaker than an author.  In business writing, I would coach a writer to avoid emotion.  While it is a motivating factor in any decision, you cannot accurately rely on the interpretation of sarcasm, humor, sympathy, or fear to be consistent across audience groups.  Speakers can display emotion through gestures, voice intonations, and facial expressions to get a far greater response.  It is interesting to note that these skills are also the most neglected in speakers I observe - it apparently isn't natural, but it is possible.
  • Lastly, a speaker gets the benefit of a live response.  She can answer questions, or respond to a quizzical look.  She can spend more time in one area and speed through another based on audience reaction.  And this also can bring an energy to the speech that helps the emotion we just talked about.  With the good comes the bad.  A live audience frequently brings with it fear and insecurity - and another channel of behaviors to monitor and control.
  • Winning Communication - Strategies to Connect and Convince
  • Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and start Impressing) Your Audience
  • Why Modern Business Communication is Killing Productivity (and what you can do about it)
  • The Silver Bullet: The One Skill Every Communicator Should Use

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Opinion | Ron DeSantis’ heel turn now criticizes conservative media

DeSantis, down in the polls, lashed out at conservative news outlets for not holding GOP frontrunner Donald Trump to account.

similarities between speech and writing

Well, ain’t this something.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is fighting an uphill battle to stay a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, lashed out at Fox News and other conservative media outlets for how they have treated GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Late last week, DeSantis told reporters, “He’s got basically a Praetorian Guard of the conservative media — Fox News, the websites, all this stuff. They just don’t hold him accountable because they’re worried about losing viewers and they don’t want to have their ratings go down, and that’s just the reality. That’s just the truth.”

Whether or not DeSantis is actually right — and there’s plenty there to suggest he is — it just seems curious that a guy who has spent most of his recent political career clashing with (and cutting off) all nonconservative media is now complaining about conservative media. This is a guy who once used to be a Fox News regular while basically shunning all other media because his interviews with Fox used to resemble campaign ads instead of serious interviews. One time, DeSantis signed Florida’s restrictive voting bill live on Fox News , while banning all other news outlets because he knew Fox wouldn’t grill him with questions. That’s just one example.

And now he’s complaining?

Well, technically, he said it wasn’t a “complaint,” but an “observation.” But the timing of his observation is telling. He once was a darling of Fox News, and now he’s not. And, of course, once he seemed a legitimate presidential contender and now he’s getting trounced by Trump in the polls.

It also should be noted that DeSantis still does business with Fox News. He has done multiple interviews with Fox News in recent weeks, as well as an hourlong town hall last week and an interview with Fox prime-time host Sean Hannity.

But, as I said, his observations regarding Trump and conservative media, including Fox, aren’t wrong.

NBC News’ Steve Benen wrote , “What made DeSantis’ rhetoric so notable had less to do with the accuracy of his assessment, and more to do with his willingness to tell the truth out loud. Most fair-minded observers, including those in Republican politics, would agree with everything the Floridian said on Friday, but they’re generally reluctant to present such an indictment on camera.”

In a piece for The New Yorker , Jonathan Chait wrote, “If you corner a professional Republican, they will admit Fox News is not a news network as it is traditionally defined, but mainly a partisan messaging vehicle in the guise of a traditional broadcast format. What they will say is that the mainstream media is also biased, so it’s fair. That belief is heavily exaggerated — the mainstream media may suffer implicit bias from the overwhelmingly left-of-center cast of its staff, but it is trying to follow traditional norms of objectivity. There’s no executive at CNN or the New York Times deciding which candidate to promote and then planning coverage together.”

Chait went on to write, “In public, Republicans will pretend that conservative media is fair and balanced, or maybe is just finding stories the liberal media ignores. They won’t admit that Fox News will never admit to its audience when Republican leaders lie and cheat. Maintaining that pretense is a core element of conservative-movement discipline. It’s a measure of DeSantis’s anger and humiliation that he finally broke the Republican omerta .”

Again, well, he’s losing.

CNN’s Oliver Darcy said on air , “When you see Republican candidates start losing to Trump in the polls and they know they’re losing, it’s like truth serum or something. They get very honest about the right-wing media apparatus that protects Trump at any cost, does not honestly cover him, and shields him from criticism.”

Standing by its reporting

Earlier this month, billionaire Bill Ackman made a big stink over Business Insider writing two stories about plagiarism accusations against former MIT professor Neri Oxman — who happens to be married to Ackman. Many found Ackman to be hypocritical considering he was quite vocal that Harvard president Claudine Gay should be removed, in part, because of plagiarism. (Ackman is a Harvard alum.)

Ackman complained enough that Axel Springer, the parent company of Business Insider, said it would look into the matter. That rankled many at Business Insider because the facts in the stories were never in question — Oxman even acknowledged she didn’t properly cite some of her work. In addition, Oxman is a public enough figure to make the story worthwhile.

Still, Axel Springer said it would look into Ackman’s allegations that the coverage was unfair and not warranted.

Over the weekend, Barbara Peng, chief executive of Business Insider, put out a note standing by the stories. Peng wrote, “There was no unfair bias or personal, political, and/or religious motivation in the pursuit of the stories.

The stories were newsworthy and Neri Oxman, who has a public profile as a prominent intellectual and has been a subject of and participant in media coverage, is a fair subject.”

Peng added, “The process we went through to report, edit, and review the stories was sound, as was the timing. Through their representative, Oxman and Ackman responded that they had made the decision not to comment. The stories are accurate and the facts well documented.”

It appeared that Axel Springer had no cause to do such an investigation to begin with and to make it so public. Just because someone — albeit someone powerful — complained about coverage isn’t cause for such a review. It’s good that Axel Springer is standing behind Business Insider’s reporting, but there’s likely to be some leftover hard feelings.

Late breaking stunner: Baltimore Sun sold

In a surprise move announced Monday, The Baltimore Sun was sold to David D. Smith, executive chairman of TV station owner Sinclair Inc. Smith said he acquired Baltimore Sun Media on Friday from investment firm Alden Global Capital. The Baltimore Sun’s Lorraine Mirabella wrote it marks “the first time in nearly four decades that The Sun will be in the hands of a local owner.”

The deal means Smith, who grew up in Baltimore, also acquires several other papers, including the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Carroll County Times, Towson Times and several other Baltimore-area weeklies and magazines. Smith told Mirabella, “I’m in the news business because I believe … we have an absolute responsibility to serve the public interest. I think the paper can be hugely profitable and successful and serve a greater public interest over time.”

It’s not known how much Smith paid in the acquisition, but he said he wants the Sun to focus more on local and community news and investigations. That sounds good, but Mirabella noted that Sinclair “has been criticized for requiring its (TV) affiliates nationwide to air conservative programming and editorial content, though many conservatives argue that most newspapers are too liberal.”

Mirabella added, “While Smith has been an active political backer of Republicans, he said he’s focused on good government.”

You would think that the Sun getting out from under Alden would be a good thing, but already there’s trepidation about how Smith’s conservative politics might influence coverage.

Sinclair, according to Axios’ Sara Fischer , put out a statement that said, “The acquisition was consummated with Mr. Smith’s personal assets. Sinclair, Inc. has no involvement with the transaction. Mr. Smith will continue to be our Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board.”

Check out Mirabella’s story for more details. And we’ll have more on the move in the coming days.

Dumbest comments of the day

similarities between speech and writing

Sports broadcaster Pat McAfee, shown here last November. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

After a couple of controversial weeks, you’d think Pat McAfee would try to lay low and just talk sports. Even after all the Aaron Rodgers-Jimmy Kimmel-Jeffrey Epstein-blah blah blah junk, McAfee said he hated being all over the news and social media for anything negative.

So what does McAfee go out and do? Somehow he turned Martin Luther King Jr. Day into a bizarre little speech about himself.

On his show, which he owns but which airs daily on ESPN, McAfee said, “Obviously it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He had a dream. … So let’s realize that as we look around and that we’re maybe more close than we’ve ever been. And there’s an election about to take place (this) year where we need to remember that we are more close than we have ever been. And people could potentially try to drive us apart from the outside looking in. Now, as somebody who was canceled by both parties last week — both of them canceled me; two political parties canceled me last week and we are still alive — let’s remember we don’t need all the outside noise. All we need is a little bit of love. Which is what we have for all the people who have good intentions every single day when they wake up, just like us. Now with that being said, football is awesome.”

First off, how inappropriate and tone-deaf to turn MLK Day into how his world is impacted by things he and his guests say on air. And then the other part: Did he actually say he was canceled by both political parties?

McAfee said this while on Disney-owned ESPN — one of the most popular and most watched TV networks in the country. If he thinks that is being “canceled,” we need to get rid of the word “canceled” because it doesn’t mean the same thing anymore.

The Big Lead’s Kyle Koster wrote , “​​Republican, Democrat, independent, apolitical, whatever your personal persuasion, we can all agree that showing up to work on a holiday by being permanently canceled and being placed on the most prominent real estate in sports television is impressive work.”

Look, I actually respect how McAfee was an NFL punter who worked hard to turn himself into one of the most watched (and richest) sports commentators on TV. But at some point, he needs to realize (or someone close to him needs to tell him) that he’s getting over his skis. Yes, his style is loose and free-flowing and a tad dangerous. That’s a lot of his appeal. He’s not a polished broadcaster. He’s the dude at the bar. But there’s a fine balance between that and not crossing lines.

Lately, McAfee is having a tough time striking that balance. If he keeps it up, at some point, he really will be canceled.

Media tidbits

  • In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Trevor Timm with “Elon Musk has become the world’s biggest hypocrite on free speech.”
  • Los Angeles Times columnist Brian Merchant with “The AI industry has a battle-tested plan to keep using our content without paying for it.”
  • Semafor’s Max Tani with “The incredible shrinking podcast industry.”
  • Favorite photo of the weekend: Check out this superb photo taken by The Kansas City Star’s Emily Curiel. Taken during Saturday night’s brutally cold playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, it shows a piece of the helmet of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes snapping off after being hit by Dolphins safety DeShon Elliott. The temperature at kickoff was minus 4 degrees, making it the fourth-coldest game in NFL history. The wind chill was minus 27.
  • Speaking of that Chiefs-Dolphins game, many NFL fans were furious that the game was aired exclusively on Peacock — NBC’s streaming service. But it was a smart business decision. According to Nielsen, the game averaged 23 million viewers, and was the most livestreamed event in U.S. history. To note, those 23 million viewers also included those who watched on the local NBC affiliates in Miami and Kansas City and on the NFL+ mobile app.
  • Wall Street Journal sports columnist Jason Gay weighed in on the NFL taking a playoff game to a streaming network in “‘Peacock Game’: The NFL’s Digital Buttfumble.” Gay wrote, “On The Peacock Game, I hate to say it but: expect more. Television, you may have read, is in decline, at least the old way of watching: the cable ‘bundle’ is dwindling, replaced by streamers like Amazon, Max, Peacock, Netflix etc. These companies need to grow, and it makes sense that they’d explore weaponizing the one thing on television everyone still watches: the NFL.”
  • A few days old, but powerful work in The Washington Post from Lizzie Johnson and Kamila Hrabchuk: “She’s 16. The war in Ukraine wrecked her city — and her childhood.”
  • Video from NBC News: “Dr. Martin Luther King III on why volunteering serves his father’s legacy”

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An Air Force pilot has been crowned Miss America 2024

Miss Colorado Madison Marsh was crowned Miss America 2024 on Sunday night.

  • Marsh, 22, is the first active-duty Air Force officer to compete in the Miss America pageant.
  • The Harvard student cofounded the Whitney Marsh Foundation to fund pancreatic cancer research.

Insider Today

The 22-year-old is a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and the first active-duty Air Force officer to be a Miss America state titleholder, per the Miss Colorado website . Marsh was crowned Miss Colorado in May 2023.

Marsh is also the first active-duty officer to compete for the Miss America crown, an Air Force Academy spokesman told Stars and Stripes , a daily American military newspaper, earlier this month.

Marsh, who hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas , graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado, with a degree in physics focusing on astronomy, per The Harvard Crimson . She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

It was during her time at the United States Air Force Academy that Marsh decided she wanted to compete in pageants, per a profile published in November by the Air Education and Training Command .

She told The Harvard Crimson earlier this month that there are similarities between being in the military and participating in a pageant.

"When I put on my uniform, I serve, and I represent our country," she said. "When I put on the crown and sash, I'm serving, representing my community."

She also credited her time at the Air Force Academy for developing the leadership skills that won her the Miss Colorado title, per The Harvard Crimson.

Marsh is also the cofounder of the Whitney Marsh Foundation , which she started with her family in honor of her mother, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2018, per the Miss Colorado website.

"My mom was a huge runner, even when she was going through chemotherapy treatments," Marsh said in her profile published by the Air Education and Training Command. "When we talked about ways to raise money, we wanted it to remember who my mom was and not what cancer had made her. So we started the Whitney Marsh Foundation and specifically hosted a 5K and 10K run every year based out of our hometown in Fort Smith, Arkansas."

The foundation has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to date, per the Miss Colorado website.

According to the Miss America website , the 2024 winner of the pageant will be awarded $60,000 in tuition scholarships and have the opportunity to travel the country as the Miss America brand ambassador.

Marsh did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

similarities between speech and writing

Watch: Miss USA Explains How Working As An Accountant Prepared Her For Beauty Pageants

similarities between speech and writing

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  1. Speaking and Writing: Similarities and Differences

    Here are some of the similarities I find between speaking and writing: Rule #1 - writers are encouraged to speak to the audience and their needs. Speakers should do the same thing. Organization, highlight, summary (tell 'em what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them). Structure helps a reader/listener follow ...

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    The Similarities between Writing and Speaking. Point #1: Writers are motivated to speak to the audience as per their needs while writing, and the speakers do the same thing. Point #2: You need to highlight essential points in the form of a summary, whether you are writing or speaking. Point #3: You need to stick to the point while writing, so ...

  3. What's the Difference between Speech and Writing?

    Of course, speech is spoken and heard, while writing is written and read. But there are many other differences: Age. Speech goes back to human beginnings, perhaps a million years ago. Writing is relatively recent, however; it was first invented by the Sumerians, in Mesopotamia, around 3200 B.C. Since then, the idea of writing has spread around ...

  4. Differences between writing and speech

    Below are some of the ways in which these two forms of language differ: Writing is usually permanent and written texts cannot usually be changed once they have been printed/written out. Speech is usually transient, unless recorded, and speakers can correct themselves and change their utterances as they go along.

  5. On the Similarities Between Spoken and Written Language

    Abstract. This paper challenges both the theoretical assumptions and the quantitative method underlying comparative studies of spoken and written language and proposes a sociolinguistic model that relates linguistic forms to macro-sociological contexts, communicative goal, and function. Drawing upon data derived from oral ritual communication ...

  6. Speaking and Writing

    These two examples clearly illustrate the following differences between speech and writing: Speech uses tone groups, and a tone group can convey only one idea. Writing uses sentences, and a sentence can contain several ideas. A fundamental difference between casual speech and writing is that speech is spontaneous whereas writing is planned.

  7. PDF Speaking and Writing Interconnections: A Systematic Review

    similarities and correspondences between the two and neglected the fact that speech and writing are different from each other in so many aspects. As an alternative to the first model, "Multidirectional model" considers the one-way influence of speech on writing but adds that writing can also influence speaking as a reversal to the ...

  8. Variation across Speech and Writing

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  9. The slippery grammar of spoken vs written English

    Speech: a faster ride. There is another interesting difference between speech and writing: speech is not held up on the same rigid prescriptive pedestal as writing, nor is it as heavily regulated ...

  10. Speaking versus Writing

    One important difference between speaking and writing is that writing is usually more durable or permanent. When we speak, our words live for a few moments. When we write, our words may live for years or even centuries. This is why writing is usually used to provide a record of events, for example a business agreement or transaction.

  11. Speaking And Writing Compared

    Speaking and writing will now be compared. Similarities. The view that speaking and writing are similar receives some support if we compare the theoretical approach to speech production of Dell et al. (1997) with the theory of writing proposed by Hayes and Flower (1986).

  12. Speaking and Writing Interconnections: A Systematic Review

    and writing on each other, the non-exclusive impact of speech on writing, and similarities as well as differences between speaking and writing. In addition to the impact of speech on

  13. On the relationship between speech and writing with implications for

    Two theories of the relationship between speech and writing are examined. One theory holds that writing is restricted to a one-way relationship with speech—a unidirectional influence from speech to writing. In this theory, writing is derived from speech and is simply a representation of speech. The other theory holds that additional, multidirectional influences are involved in the ...

  14. What are the differences between writing and speaking?

    Talking and writing are two types of communication. We talk and write to help people understand us better. You might talk with your friends about your favourite game or what you did at the weekend ...

  15. PDF 9 SPEAKING AND WRITING SIMILARITIES AND I DIFFERENCES

    UNIT 9 : SPEAKING AND WRITING : SIMILARITIES AND I DIFFERENCES Structure f 9.0 Objectives 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Spoken and Written Language: Similarities 9.3 Spoken and Written Language: Differences 9.4 Let Us sum Up 9.5 Key Words 9.6 Suggested Reading 9.7 Answers 9 0 OBJECTIVES In this unit we shall look at the similarities and differences in spoken and written

  16. Similarities Between Spoken Language and Written Language

    Apart from that, these two types of language are fairly similar: That is, to transfer information. When a new term is introduced, it first starts being used verbally, becoming a part of spoken language, and, shortly after, it becomes introduced in its written form, becoming part of written language. Exact rules govern how you should read ...

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  19. Syntactic Differences Between Speech and Writing

    On The Differences Between Spoken and Written Language. F. N. Akinnaso. Linguistics. 1982. Drawing on research studies in (socio)linguistics, discourse analysis, and literacy, this paper provides a synthesis of findings about lexical and syntactico-semantic differences between spokken and…. Expand.

  20. Relationship And Difference Between Speech And Writing In Linguistics

    Writing is used to communicate across time and space for as long as the medium exists and that particular language is understood whereas speech is more immediate. Use of Slang. Written and spoken communication uses different types of language. For instance, slang and tags are more often used when speaking rather than writing. Skills

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  22. Similarities Between Speaking and Writing

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  24. Miss Colorado Madison Marsh Crowned Miss America 2024

    You can opt-out at any time. Miss Colorado Madison Marsh was crowned Miss America 2024 on Sunday night. The 22-year-old is a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and the first active-duty Air Force ...