Switchin’ Diction

Original (Formal Diction):”It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”

Diction1-Middle Diction: “There is only one way that I can find truth and fulfill the responsibilities owed to God and my Country. If I do not say what I think because I am afraid to offend someone, I will be betraying my country and God, whom I consider more powerful than any king.”

Diction2-Informal Diction-Colloquial language: “That’s the only way I can find out the truth and help keep the responsibility I owe to God and my country.  If I don’t talk now just because I don’t want any disagreements, I’m going against my country and I’m going against God, and I think god is more important than anything.”

Diction3-Informal Diction-Dialect (Illiterate Southerner…think Honey-Boo-Boo language): “I ain’t gon’ find out no truth ‘less I do it dis’ a way, cus’ dis’ a way I can keep doin’ what Gawd and this country needs me to do. And I ain’t gonna’ shut ma mouth jus’ cus’ some of ya’ll don’t like what I got’ta say neither, if I did that I’d just be hurtin’ Gawd and this country and I ain’t gon’ wan’na be doin’ that cus I think gawd’ the most ‘mportant thing in the world.”

Re-writting this quote in three different forms of diction makes me realize just how important appropriate diction is when writing. I see how each time I re-worded this quote it changed the meaning slightly until finally the meaning of the last quote harldly matched the meaning of the first quote at all. This change in meaning could obviously seriously affect the interpretation of the message as readers grow unsure of the main point of the speech and start to loose sight of the  purpose.

Changing the diction of these quotes also changes their impact on the reader. This is apparent when I compare the original quote with my last edit of dialect. My translation is beyond poorly written and would likely have little impact on readers because the readers would not feel as though my obviously uneducated mind could possibly have anything of worth to produce in speech. A well written, intelligent speech would not only be easier to understand, but would also be more impactful and legitimate.

These different classes of diction also change the ethos in this quote as they slowly discredit the writer. The speaker of this original quote speaks in clear, simple terms, allowing him to appeal to a large audience, and gaining him significant credibility as he appears intelligent and well educated. However, in my three edits, the language becomes progressively more difficult to understand, which discredits me as my writings appear to be highly informal and unprofessional. Also, in these three other translations my diction gradually becomes so specific and limited that only people of a certain group could properly understand and interpret the message. This limits my audience and limits who my message could appeal or relate to.


One thought on “Switchin’ Diction

  1. I like how for your Dialect diction, you classified it as “Illiterate Southerner…think Honey-Boo-Boo language)”. I was quite amused by this. Although I have never seen the show, I am well aware of how an illiterate Southerner would speak. I hate to say it, but there are quite a number of people who talk in the way you wrote. It definitely diminishes ethos and makes me want to simply walk away from those people. I am impressed that you were able to rewrite such a long, eloquent quote into a completely horrendous, poorly enunciated paragraph.

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