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What is rhetoric? What you need to know for AP Language.

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Presentation on theme: "What is rhetoric? What you need to know for AP Language."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is rhetoric? What you need to know for AP Language

2 Background Aristotle was a fourth-century B.C.E. Greek philosopher who wrote extensively about rhetoric. When Aristotle wrote his Rhetoric in 350 B.C.C., the Greeks had been using rhetorical practices for some time. Aristotle simply developed a way to describe what speakers of his age were already doing. Aristotle's rhetoric has had an enormous influence on the development of the art of rhetoric.

3 Aristotle defined rhetoric as Rhetoric is the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.

4 Another Definition At best, rhetoric is a thoughtful, reflective activity leading to effective communication, including the rational exchange of opposing viewpoints. Those people who understand and can use rhetoric have the tools to resolve conflicts without confrontation, to persuade readers or listeners to support their position, or to move others to support their stance.

5 Rhetoric refers to The art of finding and analyzing all the choices involving language a writer, speaker, reader, or listener might make in a situation so that the text becomes meaningful, purposeful, and effective for readers or listeners.

6 Informed about the issues of the day Able to take a stance and support it on issues of the day Able to offer counterargument to opposing views Understand how arguments have changed over time Citizen Rhetorician

7 What are rhetorical strategies? Rhetoric may be described as “persuasive use of language” and rhetorical strategies are techniques by which writers persuade readers. Anything a writer does is a rhetorical strategy— any choice at all.

8 Rhetorical Triangle It is the interaction among subject, speaker, and audience (or subject, writer, and reader), as well as how this interaction determines the structure and language of the argument—that is, a text or image that establishes a position.


10 First Way of Using the Triangle Analyze a speech or text from the viewpoint of the audience or readers. It is the art of finding and analyzing all the choices involving language a writer, speaker, reader, or listener might make in a situation so that the text becomes meaningful, purposeful, and effective for readers or listeners.

11 Second Way of Using the Triangle Analyze your own interaction as you develop an essay, speech, letter or other text. Writers or speakers must first choose a subject and then evaluate what they already know about it, what others have said about it, and what kind of evidence will sufficiently develop their argument.

12 Who is the speaker? You might think the identity of the speaker is obvious; however, writers often assume what Aristotle called a persona—the character the speaker creates when he or she writes or speaks— depending on the context, purpose, subject and audience. Who are you speaking as?

13 Who is the audience? What does the audience know about the subject? What is the audience’s attitude toward it? Is there any common ground between the writer’s and audience’s attitude toward the subject ?

14 Can you describe the rhetorical triangle to someone else? If someone were not here in class today, write down one or two major points you would use to explain the rhetorical triangle?

15 Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos After analyzing the relationship of speaker to subject, audience to speaker, and audience to subject, a writer is ready to make some strategic choices. One is how to persuade the audience by appealing to ethos, logos, and pathos.

16 A rhetor makes three kinds of closely related appeals to his audience through a spoken or written text. Logos-offers a clear reasonable central idea (or set of ideas) and develops it with appropriate reasoning, examples or details. Ethos-offers evidence that he or she is credible—that he or she knows important and relevant information about the topic at hand and is a good, believable person who has the readers’ best interests in mind. Pathos-offers evidence that draws on the emotions and interests of the audience so that they will be sympathetically inclined to accept and buy into his or her central ideas and arguments.

17 There is no precise English term for logos. The best way to define it is “embodied thought.” Logical appeals are aimed at the mind of the audience, their thinking side. These are some, but not all, of the techniques used in this kind of appeal: Logical reasons Statistics Examples Facts Expert opinion Use of cause and effect, compare and contrast, and analogy Logos

18 Ethical appeals depend on the credibility or training of the author. Audiences tend to believe writers who seem honest, wise, and trustworthy. An author or speaker exerts an ethical appeal when the language itself impresses the audience that the speaker is a person of intelligence, high moral character and good will. Thus a person wholly unknown to an audience can by words alone win that audience’s trust and approval. Aristotle emphasized the importance of impressing upon the audience that the speaker is a person of good sense and high moral character. Ethos

19 Arguments from the heart are designed to appeal to the audience’s emotions and feelings. How is the speaker or author appealing to the audience’s emotions? Why? Always try to name the emotions being appealed to (love, sympathy, anger, fear, hate, patriotism, compassion) and figure out how the emotion is being created in the audience. Some techniques: Moving stories and anecdotes Emotional language Use of first person Dire prediction Humor Personal examples Pathos

20 Not always separate sections. The rhetor does not necessarily make these appeals in separate sections of a text. A single sentence can appeal to logos, the audience's interest in a clear cogent idea; ethos, the audience's belief in the credibility and good character of the writer; and pathos, the audience's emotions or interests in regard to the topic at hand.

21 A rhetor needs to be able to think. “I expect you all to be independent, innovative, critical thinkers who will do exactly as I say.”

22 Watch the following speech given to American on the night of the 9/11 attacks. What appeals does he use? How does he use them?

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