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Martin Luther King during a speech
Speakers' Corner in London

A speech is usually pre- considered , oral communication, which one speaker to several people (audience at public speaking audience ) is directed. In contrast to the reciter , the speaker presents his own thoughts. Manuscripts and printed versions of speeches are also referred to as speeches. Short speeches to welcome or open an event are also called an address (alloquium) .

Grammarians and linguists use the term speech more generally for all linguistic utterances (e.g. direct , indirect , experienced speech ), see Speech (Linguistics) . In the general language, the word has other meanings.

Formal features

A campaign speech ( Norbert Schmitt , 2008)

Speeches differ from conversational messages by:

  • Monological form: The audience does not interrupt the speaker with lengthy messages of their own, but rather with expressions of approval or disapproval. Intermediate questions and heckling are allowed when speaking about debates , but not when speaking in a solemn setting.
  • Standard language : Speeches are often written and read off. Experienced speakers prefer to speak freely based on notes. Even when speakers are extemporating ( speaking “ impromptu ”), they try to bring their words up to the level of the written language . Politicians occasionally use a prompter : They read their speech from inconspicuously mounted mirrors and give the impression that they are speaking spontaneously.
  • Prose : speakers do not speak in verse . Verses on cheerful occasions such as wedding celebrations and carnival events ( Büttenrede ) are the exception.
  • Thematic unity: Speeches are characterized by the fact that they are always “on the point”. Difficulty speaking is poor speaking style and makes the audience impatient. A good speech is concise and as short as possible.
  • Habitus and body language : Speeches, even table speeches , are usually held in a standing position in larger gatherings "frontally" from a speaker's desk . The speaker raises his voice and seeks eye contact with the audience.
  • Courtesy ceremonial: To a speech by the speaker heard of pages polite salutation of the audience, asking for and thanks for attention on the part of the audience applause .

Types of speeches

In contrast to oral narration , recitation and chatting by emcees , speeches do not serve, or only marginally, entertainment. Speakers represent a cause, are or show themselves politically, socially, morally committed, want to make a difference through their words. Your speeches have a specific cause and one or more of the following purposes:

Speech as an art form

The orator, rhetorician with the Greeks, orator with the Romans, has enjoyed a high reputation since ancient times . Speech became an art in the political and judicial practice of both peoples. Eloquence was considered to be learnable and was taught in special speaking schools. The practical knowledge about effective speech design was collected and theoretically penetrated. This gave rise to an extensive field of knowledge, rhetoric. It was part of the educational canon until the Middle Ages and is by no means outdated today, as a look at its systematic shows. The analysis and classification of the figures of speech fertilized other areas of knowledge, such as stylistics and poetics . Rhetoric is one of the historical roots of literary studies .

What reputation a speaker enjoys or how important a prominent speaker can be to an organizer is shown by the fees that are sometimes paid for a speech. In particular, former presidents or other high-ranking or popular members of government received or are receiving large amounts of money per performance, for example Bill Clinton , Al Gore , Mikhail Gorbachev , Tony Blair (he received 230,000 pounds = 280,300 euros in November 2007 for a three-hour performance in China) or Helmut Schmidt .

See also


See article Rhetoric , Literature section

Web links

Commons : Speech  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Speech  - Sources and Full Texts
Wikiquote: Speech  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Speech  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See Duden online: speech
  2. ^ Duden online: Sunday speech
  3. manager-magazin.de: Talking is gold. June 15, 2006.
  4. The enterprising Mr. Blair. In: Rheinische Post from August 25, 2010, page A5
  5. parliamentwatch.de