Rhetoric Subject English comprehension communication skills Rhetoric is the

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Rhetoric Subject English comprehension communication skills Rhetoric is the Powered By Docstoc
					Subject: English comprehension & communication

   Rhetoric is the study of effective speaking and writing.
   Rhetoric is the study and practice of communication to
   target audiences that persuades, informs, inspires, or
   entertains in order to change or reinforce beliefs, values,
   habits and actions. Rhetorical study not only brings
   deeper understanding of strategic communication, but
   guides our practical use of it.
    Rhetoric is an art through which people learn to improve
   their own communication and adapt it to specific
   audiences and purposes. It also helps us learn to discern
   the excellence and weakness of our own and others’
   "Rhetoric is the art of speaking well."
   Rhetoric is the art, practice, and study of human

      If you think about the different groups of people that you
communicate with, you will see that you use different forms
of rhetoric with each of them. You talk to your friends
differently than you talk to your parents, or your teachers, or
your employers. Each group you associate with calls for a
different form of language, of voice, of rhetoric to be used.

Rhetoric has three categories:

   Pathos (Emotion based persuasion)
   Ethos (Credibility behind the persuasion)
   Logos (Logic based persuasion)

       Pathos appeals to the emotions and the sympathetic
imagination, as well as to beliefs and values. Pathos can
also be thought of as the role of the audience in the
argument Pathos is an argument based on emotion, playing
on sympathy, fears, and desires. Pathos can best be
described as the use of emotional appeal. Emotion itself
should require no definition, but it should be noted that
effective pathetic appeal (the use of pathos) is often used in
ways that cause anger or sorrow in the minds and hearts of
the audience.
      Pathos is often the rhetorical vehicle of public service
announcements. A number of anti-smoking and second
hand smoking related commercials use pathos heavily.

     One of the more memorable shows an elderly man
rising from the couch to meet his young grandson who,
followed by the child's mother, is taking his first steps toward
the grandfather. As the old man coaxes the young child
forward, the grandfather begins to disappear. As the child
walks through him the mother says "I wish your grandpa
could see you now." The audience is left to assume that the
grandfather has died, and an announcer informs us that
cigarette smoke kills so many people a year, with a closing
statement to the effect of "be there for the ones you love."
This commercial uses powerful words (like "love") and
images to get at the emotions of the viewer, encouraging
them to quit smoking. The goal is for the audience to
becoming so "enlightened" and emotionally moved that the
smoking viewers never touch another cigarette.

      Ethos appeals to the writer’s character. Ethos can also
be thought of as the role of the writer in the argument, and
how credible his/her argument is. Ethos can be seen as the
credibility that an author/writer/speaker owns when they
present themselves in front of an audience.

       If on the first day of class, your professor walked in
with a baseball cap turned backward, pants sagged down to
their knees, and was picking their nose, how would you
perceive that instructor? What would your view of the class
be? How confident would you be that this person knows
what they are talking about?
      Ethos encompasses a large number of different things
which can include what a person wears, says, the words
they use, their tone of voice, their credentials, their
experience, their charge over the audience, verbal and
nonverbal behavior, criminal records, etc. At times, it can be
as important to know who the person presenting the material
is, as what they are saying about a topic.
     Many companies, especially those big enough to afford
famous spokespersons, will use celebrities in their ad
campaigns in attempts to sell their products. Certain soft
drink companies have used the likes of Ray Charles,
Madonna, and Britney Spears to sell their products, and
been successful in doing so.

       Logos appeals to reason. Logos can also be thought
of as the text of the argument, as well as how well a writer
has argued his/her point. Logos is most easily defined as the
logical appeal of an argument.

    Say that you are writing a paper on immigration and you
say "55,000 illegal immigrants entered this country last year,
of those, only 23,000 did it legally." There is obviously
something wrong here. Although saying that 55,000
immigrants were "illegal" makes for an impressive statistic, it
is apparently not correct if you admit that 23,000 of these
people immigrated legally. The actual number of illegal
immigrants would then be only 32,000, a significantly lower
   False facts like this one are one example of faulty logos.
To look into the matter further, one needs to take a look at
the two different types of logos and how they function. These
two types are known as "deductive" and "inductive."
Deductive Logic:
A deductive logical argument is one that works from the top
to the bottom. It begins with what is known as a "major
premise," adds a "minor premise," and attempts to reach a
       A major premise is a statement that names something
about a large group, a minor premise takes a single
member, and the conclusion attempts to prove that because
this single member is a part of the larger group, they must
also have the trait named in the original statement.

MEN ARE TALL - a major premise as it works with a large
group of people.
BOB IS A MAN - a minor premise as we hear about only one
individual of that group.
BOB IS TALL - we attempt to make a conclusion based upon
what we have already been told.
     Now, if it is true that men are tall, and that Bob is a man,
then we can safely infer that Bob must be tall. However,
beware the logical fallacy. Though it may be true that in
certain cultures men are, on average, taller than women,
certainly this is not always the case. Being that our major
premise is not altogether true, we can now say that this
argument is flawed. Furthermore, we might ask what our
definitions of “tall” are. We see that the problem becomes far
more complex the more we look into it.

Inductive Logic:
     As some would argue that a deductive argument works
from the top down, toward a conclusion, some comment that
an inductive argument works from the bottom up. This is
mildly misleading. What is meant by this is that an inductive
logical argument begins with a firm affirmation of truth, a
conclusive statement. By getting the audience to agree with
this statement, the argument moves to the next "logical"
step. It proceeds in this manner until the argument has led
you from one seemingly reasonable conclusion to another
that you may not have originally agreed with. Take the
following as an example. Move through the argument slowly,
making sure you understand and agree with each step in the
process (and please forgive the religious content, you'll
come to see it is irrelevant anyway).

In an inductive argument, the reader holds up a specific
example, and then claims that what is true for it is also true
for a general category. For instance, "I have just tasted this
lemon. It is sour. Therefore, all lemons are probably sour."

       Rhetoric, as an art, has long been divided into five
major canons:


      Necessity is the mother of invention, and the
necessity of persuasion means we must first discover the
best way to persuade in each situation.
    Target analysis:
       The first step of invention is to understand the
target(s) of persuasion. Identify who they are, segmenting
them into subgroups as necessary. Identify their needs,
interests and goals around the persuasive situation. Include
yourself in this as well!
      Secondly, consider what information you need to
persuade these people. Do you need hard evidence?
      Thirdly, decide how you will present your evidence. In
particular consider each of Logos, Pathos and Ethos.
Consider also whether you need a formal setting, such as a
courtroom, or something informal, such as a walk or a
discussion in the bar.
     Finally, consider the context, timing and duration of
your argument. A long argument is necessary in some
cases, but will tire people. Sometimes a person is best
spoken to in the morning. Sometimes they are more
receptive in the afternoon.

        In many situations, we jump in with both feet and try to
'wing it', making things up as we go along. We often default
to our preferred style and use patterns of persuasion that
may have worked for us in the past (or not).
      Invention is going slow to go fast. By doing sound
 research and deep thinking first about both their and your
 situation, you have the basis to build a solid argument. You
 will also be able to present it in a way that will achieve your
 persuasive goals.
 In the original Latin text, this is 'inventio'.

    Arranging an argument is like structuring an essay
(which is, of course, arranging an argument).
    Introduction (exordium):
        Start with an introduction that positions both your
argument and, if appropriate, yourself. Provide the context
in which you are speaking, including some background
information. Grab their attention, showing that this argument
is important to them. Ask them to listen carefully, as this will
be to their advantage.
     Also show that you are the best person to be talking with
them on this subject. Establish your credibility. Show that
you are really on their side and can be trusted.
   Statement of fact (narratio):
        Present the basic facts of the case, clearly and with
enough information that they can be accepted as
independent facts, and not just your observations. Be
neutral in your presentation, taking the part of a witness or a
concerned bystander, rather than a person with a
passionate interest in one side of the argument.
        In Classical Greek arguments, this stage is also
used to demonstrate the speaker's ethos, or ethical
    Confirmation (confirmatio):
        The next stage is to give the case for your position.
Construct a persuasive argument as to what should be
believed and done. This is where the full power and
methods of rhetoric are employed. Use various types of
reasoning, create yourself an unassailable position.
        In confirming your position, do take care to align it
carefully with the needs, values and goals of your audience.
If you do not do this, they may well ignore you and be
building their own refutatio rather than listening to your case.
    Refutation (refutatio):
        After building up your own castle, the next stage is to
attack the stronghold of any opposing arguments. Using
similar reasoning methods, you now take apart any
alternatives to your confirmatio, one brick at a time. When
opposing arguments are but rubble, there is nothing else left
to believe but your original argument.
      Refuting other arguments need not mean being unkind
or unpleasant. You can show how much you accept and
respect the other person or people involved. You can start
with appreciation of them as people and of their reasoning
for their case. Then show how they are sadly mistaken. If
possible, show how they can better achieve their needs
through your preferred choices.
    Conclusion (peroratio):
         End your argument with a summary of what you
have said, reminding your audience of the key points along
the way. If you want them to do something afterwards
(rather than just agree with you), describe these carefully
and ensure you get their full agreement.
     This is a classic way of arguing: build your position
and knock down that of the opposition, albeit with attention
to ethical concerns. It still is relevant today, but can easily
suffer from a them-and-us battle. The most effective way to
use this approach is, as far as you can, to blend in respect
and concern for people who oppose you. Seek to expand
the pie so everyone gets more, rather than assume a fixed
amount 'I win-you lose' situation. In the original Latin text,
this is 'dispositio'.

      Using style in an argument goes beyond simple
statement of facts and description of reason and logic. Style
moves an argument in to the realms of aesthetics, seeking
to touch emotions rather than just intellect.
    Eloquent language:
         Eloquent language flows with an ease that belies the
skill and artifice behind the delicate words. It uses subtle
rhyme and alliteration to realize the alternative ways of
presenting what could, otherwise, be a not so good way of
saying this too well.
It uses devices such as reversal ('Ask not what your country
can do for you; ask what you can do for your country') and
triples ('for God, Queen and Country').
   Powerful language:
       Powerful language selects individual words and
combinations for their impact. It seeks to stimulate emotions
through association with stirring themes. It may shock with
brash images that threaten and trigger fear responses. It
grabs you and forces you to agree.
      Cicero was a military general who generally
disapproved of emotions and thought they led to weakness,
though it seems likely he would have been good at
persuasion and making strong speeches that stirred the
emotions. If you are going into battle, then emotional
arousal seems like a good idea.
     Appealing to emotions can be particularly effective, as
these are always important in decision making, even when
we are largely convinced by the logic of an argument. The
point of decision happens when we feel that an argument is
good enough. We close when our emotions change.
Speaking with style multiplies the effectiveness of any
argument. In the original Latin text, this is 'elocutio'.

     When you are going to persuade someone of
something, take time to remember enough of the argument
to be able to present the full story without hesitation or
omissions. If you want to spellbind them, you must fully
learn the spell.
    You seldom need to learn everything by heart, but it can
be a very good idea to at least learn your opening lines by
heart and then know very clearly all of the points of your
    If you have problems remembering things, do not worry,
help is at hand. There are many practical memory methods.
     The secret of speaking is often in the rehearsal. Even
great orators spend much time behind closed doors
perfecting each of their speeches. The more important the
speech, the more time you should put into its preparation,
including a full dress rehearsal (or two).

       When an actor performs in a play, they do not read
from the script. To do so would spoil the performance
terribly. They would not be able to use their hands and body
fully. They would look like a person reading from a piece of
paper, rather than a person who transforms the audience to
a separate reality.
      Persuading is like acting. The performance depends on
you not having to spend time thinking about what to say --
your spare cognitive effort should be spend on shaping it to
the situation, going with the flow of moment, responding to
your audience to ensure you are in perfect tune. In the
original Latin text, this is 'memoria'.
      To deliver a good persuasive argument, you have to go
beyond words. Communication means using every means
at your disposal, which includes body language as well as
voice tone and texture.
     Use emphasis in words and body language to draw
attention to key points. Put emotion into your voice.
     You can also make good use of props in your delivery,
utilizing images and simple artifacts, from cups to
cupboards. Use props with drama, synchronizing them with
key points of speech. Dramatically bring them out from a
hidden place and return them when they are no long of
   By one study at least, words can make up a small
proportion of a face-to-face communication. And by any
chalk, much of personal communication occurs through
visual and auditory channels (and sometimes tactile ones
too).In the original Latin text, this is 'actio' and 'pronuntatio'.

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Description: Rhetoric is the study of effective speaking and writing.