A friend of mine speaks rapidly. In doing so he ends up substituting certain words. The substitutions aren’t usually equal; more often than not, they are somewhat heterographic homophones. Not in strict sense of the definition, but the substituted words sound similar. I’ve often brought this to his attention and he is aware of it too. And while he seems to be improving, there are still a few occasions when the substitutions occur; usually to a comical effect.
I think his brain works too fast for the speech to catch up, and there’s a need to get that thought out before the next one’s taken in for processing and output. I do not know this for certain, but I am quite convinced. I’ve known him for a long time and he is one the smartest person I’ve ever known. You have to say it when the thought’s ready to be expressed; if you don’t it’s lost. That is perhaps what’s happened with my blogging, but that’s a separate post.
I’ve also often thought of people who are articulate. Their minds must be processing faster than my friend’s. First the thought has to be processed, then it has to be weighed for its worth, considered and reconsidered, and finally it has to be expressed calmly, with the right choice of words. This is especially true in a debate, argument, or even in a conversation. When writing, articulation is relatively easier, I think. There’s time for editing. Being articulate in a dynamic conversation, however, is admirable.
People often attribute articulation to a large vocabulary. It is not true. There are (and have been) many articulate people with a limited vocabulary. In fact, having a large vocabulary requires further processing to choose the right words and could obscure what you have to say, for people with limited vocabularies.
The power of articulation lies in a personal conviction, clarity of thought, and awareness of the meaning of words that you will use. I’d go ahead and say, in that order.
We are so much less without our thoughts; so much more when we say well, what we have to say.