Thursday, July 23, 2015

Initial Consonant Phonemes Trump The Donald - Substitutes /w/ for /f/

I just heard Donald Trump say that Hillary Clinton was the "worst secretary of state in the history of our country."   Apparently he suffers from a linguistic disorder that causes him to make phonemic substitutions.  A phoneme is a meaningful unit of sound.  Phonemic production establishes differences in meaning between words.

There is one phonemic difference between the words /fərst/ {first} and /wərst/ {worst}.  It occurs with the initial consonant.   Mr. Trump's linguistic slip belies the facts.  In two important instances, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was first.

Six years ago this month, Hillary Clinton announced the first sweeping review of interdepartmental and inter-agency task coordination ever conducted by that department.  The purpose was to improve efficiency and delivery by detecting replications of responsibilities and identifying needed interdepartmental and inter-agency partnerships.   It was monumental, daunting, scary for many at first, but now is an established practice to be conducted every four years.

The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) Hillary instituted was modeled after the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) conducted regularly by the Department of Defense with which Hillary became familiar during her service on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  I have always thought that had she been elected in 2008 she might well have requested such a review from every department.

To understand the enormity, within the department, of this review, one need only look at the two town hall meetings where she announced this undertaking.  She was the first secretary of state to call for a review of this kind in the history of the department and the country.

Hillary Clinton Announces Unprecedented QDDR at a Town Hall at the State Department

Hillary Clinton Announces QDDR at a Town Hall at USAID

One thing they had never had a chance to do was to encounter each other in a collegial setting where they could meet and greet their counterparts around the globe and compare notes.  Hillary Clinton was the first secretary of state to convene all chiefs of mission for a conference here at home in the history of the department and the country.

Secretary Clinton Convenes the Inaugural Global Chiefs of Mission Conference: Media Coverage for February 2

Not to be forgotten either is this first.  Hillary established this important post. Some (men) thought Hillary's advocacy for women was a "soft" issue and not a strong, hard signature effort, but as Hillary continues to highlight on the campaign trail, the plight of a nation rests with the plight of its women.

Hillary Clinton Swears In Melanne Verveer Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Far from the worst.  Hillary Clinton was the first!