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Gettysburg Address ... easy question? maybe
12-13-2017, 05:50 PM (This post was last modified: 12-13-2017 06:04 PM by AussieMick.)
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RE: Gettysburg Address ... easy question? maybe
Yes, I agree that we will never know how many words he actually spoke. I do think its a useful example that schools (and universities) could use when demonstrating the dangers of relying on 'the internet' to provide answers.

I recall seeing that link of Eva's and its a very useful detailed summary of what we have and know. It certainly seems reasonable to rely on the several on-the-spot reporters who noted the words 'under God', even if we dont have specific names of those reporters. Those words seem very "Lincolnesque" and seem to be part of the flow of the speech.

I'd add that 'battlefield' is (to my mind) clearly one word. I know several written copies have it with a space between but I'd say that is irrelevant. Its one word and Lincoln would have said it as one word (IMO).

The other issue which is debatable and hasnt been mentioned as far as I know is ... "can not". Many versions that I have seen documented have the two words. But I have also seen "cannot". I'd say that the normal (correct?) usage is to have "cannot". However, I'd acknowledge that Lincoln's speech uses that section ... "we can not .....we can not ... we can not ... " in a very dramatic way. I can imagine him grabbing the attention of the vast crowd (if he didnt already have it by then) with those words and almost demanding their thoughts and tears. The slightest pauses between "can" and "not" would have sent a shudder through the most stoic of us.

I think that people who often give speeches such as Toastmasters and those who have given worthwhile eulogies will acknowledge that the best parts of their speeches are those that 'come from the heart'. A speech will often be written in advance ... but sometimes when its being spoken there is a moment of inspiration when new words and a special thought comes to mind which demand to be said.

So, yep, we will never know the actual 'number' of words spoken on that probably cold and windy November day. But, as the old saying goes, its not the quantity but the quality that matters. And that speech has quality rippling through it.
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RE: Gettysburg Address ... easy question? maybe - AussieMick - 12-13-2017 05:50 PM

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