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Tamar Abrams Headshot

President Obama: Taking Him at His Words

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Maybe when you grow up with a name like "Barack Obama," you are forced to be more sensitive to language. Unlike, say, someone with the name of "George," you pay attention to how words are pronounced and their correct usage. Obama's press conference on his 100th day in office is such a refreshing relief from the cringe-worthy press conferences of his predecessor. The ease with which he uses words, the easy flow of his thoughts, his mastery of multi-syllabic words - all of these make him a pleasure to listen to.

There's also a certain respect that he shows for other countries, cultures and languages. No longer are we in EYE-rack; now we're talking about Iraq. Pakistan is pronounced with a short "a." He also says "nuclear" naturally and correctly. As an English major and a person who's traveled extensively, I am delighted to hear President Obama honor the English language instead of butchering it.

Of course there is room for improvement. Our president still overuses the verbal tic "ummmm" and sometimes begins speaking before he knows what he wants to say. He also has a tendency to use the words "I think" when discussing topics such as abortion that he's uncomfortable with. But how many of us can say we're completely evolved in our public speaking skills?

Much has happened in the past 100 days. I leave it to true pundits to talk about the agenda and achievements of our president. I, however, am awed by a man who can reassure, explain, feel, and respond with agility, depth of feeling and sincerity. Our commander-in-chief has a command of the English language. On behalf of all of us who cherish words, thank you, Mr. President.