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I'm looking for the word or phrase that could replace "a manner of speaking" in a sentence, as in "He used a halting, hesitant manner of speaking." Not a particular adjective, but name for what those adjectives would be describing...

It could be described as "speech pattern", but that's more technical or analytical in my mind. I'm looking for something more casually observant. I thought maybe "oratory", but that has a bit of a negative connotation, along with its synonym "rhetoric". I'm looking for a more neutral word.

Thanks, folks~

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Elocution is defined as "a particular style of speaking" (here) and "a person's manner of speaking or reading aloud in public" (here).

Given that both definitions limit application to speaking aloud, it seems to fit your bill. Further, it is more holistic (that is, encompassing) than words like cadence or prosody which relate only to the formal properties of speech.

  • Nice! Nice find. I'll add bounty to give you more recognition, presuming I remember to do so when the question is eligible (feel free to remind me if you want). – Dan Bron Mar 1 '16 at 19:03
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    My first thought was 'locution' - speech as the expression of thought; discourse, conversation. A person's style of speech or manner of expression.(OED). Elocution is more associated with the art of public speaking so far as it regards delivery, pronunciation, tones, and gestures; manner or style of oral delivery. (OED) – Dan Mar 1 '16 at 23:55
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    @Dan, the words are probably so close that in many peoples' idiolects they'd be considered variants of one another. For my money, I prefer elocution for what the OP describes. I don't associate it with the art of public speaking. – GoldenGremlin Mar 2 '16 at 0:02
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'Voice' could be used to describe one's manner of speech, though it would take some setup to ensure the desired meaning, and not the more obvious one, is properly established.

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