mute / voiced

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parap

Senior Member
Mainly US English
Hi,

Just wondering: what is the opposite of mute? What I mean is: what do you call someone who has a voice, is able to speak? A voiced person? Sounds strange to me. What do you think?

Thanks!
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I don't believe we have an antonym to mute. We usually assume people can speak, therefore we don't seem to have felt the need to develop a term to say so. If one twin, for instance, could speak but the other couldn't we would probably refer to one as "the mute twin" and the other as "the twin who can talk/ speak".
     

    losilmer

    Senior Member
    The loquent one could be an option, if it would not be for it being booksy or noncommon. I have tried also spoken or verbal, but I don't find one that I have heard around.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Losilmer, can you give us a reference for "loquent"? I can find it neither in any (free) online dictionary nor in my Webster's dictionary (off-line).

    I would say it is very uncommon!
     
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    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Losilmer, can you give us a reference for "loquent"? I can find it neither in any (free) online dictionary nor in my Webster's dictionary (off-line).

    I would say it is very uncommon!
    I found it in the Oxford English Dictionary. Definition: "That speaks." Example: "He would be loquent as Mithridates, that could speake 22 languages."
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Thanks, parap. I still can't say I'd recognise it, and the example doesn't really show it being used as an antonym for "mute"...

    Ooh. I think I just stumbled across the "technically correct" answer: verbal. Here are a couple examples of its use from the internet:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/j536422p31180g63/
    Samples were subcategorized into verbal and mute groups, and again results failed to support the seasonality hypothesis.

    http://ags.pearsonassessments.com/assessments/vineland_1.asp
    Verbal individuals achieved higher scores in Daily Living Skills than mute individuals.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Is there a difference to be drawn, though, between a person who can physically speak, but may be intellectually or psychologically unable or unwilling to speak?

    Maybe for the sake of this discussion, there isn't.

    I think of verbal - even loquent - as being a personality trait of a more outgoing person. It's that outgoing or boistrous personality that makes them want to speak all the time.

    I don't think of these words as a way to specifically describe someone who can speak because there are lots of those who can, but just choose not to all the time. They're just more quiet kinds of people and wouldn't be described as verbal or loquent.

    A mute person may want to speak - or may not - but physically can't because of a physical defect, not a psychological or social one.

    I'm not sure at this point what I think about all this.

    AngelEyes
     

    losilmer

    Senior Member
    I found it in the Oxford English Dictionary. Definition: "That speaks." Example: "He would be loquent as Mithridates, that could speake 22 languages."
    I'd rather say that Mithridates was eloquent, or better, polyglot. And certainly he was loquent.

    If loquent means "That speaks", and "Mute", "That cannot speak", "loquent" could be a candidate as an antonyn of "mute", couldn't it?

    Loqui is Latin for "to speak", whence several English words derive (locutor, locuacious, eloquence, etc.).

    I recognize that "loquent" is very unusual, but are there any other substitutes around?
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    I'd rather say that Mithridates was eloquent, or better, polyglot. And certainly he was loquent.

    If loquent means "That speaks", and "Mute", "That cannot speak", "loquent" could be a candidate as an antonyn of "mute", couldn't it?

    Loqui is Latin for "to speak", whence several English words derive (locutor, locuacious, eloquence, etc.).

    I recognize that "loquent" is very unusual, but are there any other substitutes around?
    I like the word "loquent," but if there's an "official" antonym of mute, then I'd rather use that, even if I don't entirely agree with it. Verbal to me sounds more like "capable of putting things into words," rather than simply "having a voice and the ability to speak." Nevertheless, if that's the official term, then that's what I'll use in this particular case. Maybe in another context I'll go out on a limb and try "loquent." I do so like the word. :)
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When I read post #1, I too had misgivings about the suitability of ‘voiced’ as the antonym of ‘mute’.

    During the course of the discussion though, none of the alternatives seemed right to me. “The verbal twin” sounds like the twin who is more talkative, and “the (e)loquent twin” sounds like the one who is more erudite. In other words, both of these adjectives compare the twins rather than discriminate between them.

    The more I re-read the thread, in fact, the more I conclude that ‘the voiced twin’ is indeed the best way to describe the one who is not‘the mute twin’.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I think of verbal - even loquent - as being a personality trait of a more outgoing person. It's that outgoing or boistrous personality that makes them want to speak all the time.
    I agree - that is the impression I had of the word "verbal", before I found that it is used to mean "not mute" in scientific literature. There is also a push by sufferers of the condition and/or parents of children who suffer from the condition for the term "mute" to be replaced by "non-verbal".

    I also agree with johndot's suggestion that "voiced" would, to us laymen, seem a better choice, but it isn't the word that is used in scientific texts.
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Well, I would definitely choose 'verbal' over 'voiced' in this situation. In education circles, you very commonly hear discussions about things like improving verbal skills, verbal and non-verbal communication, and verbal acuity.

    While I understand the inclination to use 'voiced', it is more commonly used in choral and electronic music circles to describe number of vocal parts, musical ranges, synthesizer patch/program combinations, and related ideas.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    As the comments above show, the words proposed will be understood in widely different ways, depending on context. And context is one thing we haven't been given.

    The discussion about the possible words and the nuances of their meanings has been interesting. When it comes to recommending one over the other, however, I think the information we have is inadequate.
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, I would definitely choose 'verbal' over 'voiced' in this situation. In education circles, you very commonly hear discussions about things like improving verbal skills, verbal and non-verbal communication, and verbal acuity.

    While I understand the inclination to use 'voiced', it is more commonly used in choral and electronic music circles to describe number of vocal parts, musical ranges, synthesizer patch/program combinations, and related ideas.
    Your first paragraph: Unfortunately though, the “education circles [where] you very commonly hear discussions about things like improving verbal skills [...]” has nothing to do with the physical inability to speak, so this comparison of ‘verbal’ over ‘voiced’ is not topical, I think.

    Your second paragraph: ... And ‘Voice’ has an important rôle in grammar, too.

    Personally, I prefer ‘voiced’, but ‘verbal’ and ‘vocal’ are contenders—no doubt about it.

    But to get back to the nitty-gritty, what actually are we discussing here? The thread title is “mute / voiced”, and neither of these adjectives is what we are looking for: mute means ‘silent or nearly silent for whatever reason’, and voiced means, broadly, ‘having a voice’—whereas parap in post #1 is asking for the antonym of a mute, the noun, a person who cannot speak.

    Does this change the complexion, or direction, of the thread? For my part, I make the following suggestions (none of which is brilliant):

    a voiced person (or verbal p. or vocal p.);
    a speech-able person;
    one who can speak;
    a non-mute.

    However poor these comments may be, I hope they’re constructive.
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    Or maybe "the speaking twin."
    I'm with elroy if we're talking about a good word to use in a conversation or more informal writing. I would reserve 'loquent' (I am more familiar with the adjectives 'loquacious' and 'eloquent') for academic or professional written use.

    By the way, I found the following usage note at

    http://www.answers.com/topic/mute

    USAGE NOTE In reference to people who are unable to speak, mute and deaf-mute are now often considered objectionable. The offense is due not only to the bluntness of these terms but also to the implication that a person who is incapable of oral speech is necessarily deprived of the use of language. In fact, many deaf people today communicate naturally and fully through the use of a sign language such as ASL, and no one who has witnessed such a conversation would ever think to call the participants mute. See Usage Notes at deaf.
     
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    13sblakely

    New Member
    English-usa
    I would just like to comment that I myself am mute, but not deaf. I think that using the word "dumb" is not acceptably used anymore, but I have no problem being called mute because there's nothing else to call it. I am still a perfectly normal person, i just can't use my voice box, thus mute. But I do agree that calling deaf people mute is not okay.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    A hearty welcome to the forums, 13sblakely:).

    Would you say that the opposite to "mute" is "voiced"?
     
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