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Introduction to Rhetoric

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1 Introduction to Rhetoric
What do Students Need to Know about Rhetoric

2 Defining “Rhetoric” What do you think it means? Have you heard this term? Consider these quotations: “Obama’s campaign is more style than substance, more rhetoric than specifics.” “Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.”

3 Definition of “Rhetoric”
Rhetoric is… The art of persuading an audience effectively Analyzing all the language choices that a writer, speaker, reader, or listener might make to make a text meaningful, powerful, or persuasive It is around us, and we use it everyday. It is the ordinariness of rhetoric

4 Why do we study rhetoric?
We want to learn: 1) How do great speakers use rhetorical strategies to convince the audience 2) How can I use rhetorical strategies to convince the audience? 3) We want to understand how language can be used to persuade.

5 People use rhetoric when…
Politicians try to get you to vote for them Lawyers try to convince a jury Companies attempt to get you to buy something in a commercial When the president gives a speech When someone writes a note to a friend When you try to convince your parents to let you go to the winter formal

6 Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle
Speaker Context Purpose Audience Message/Subject

7 The 3 parts of the rhetorical triangle must complement one another.
Speaker/Rhetor: uses Appeal to ethos- The speaker must be credible and trustworthy Attitude to a subject and understanding of a reader shape by Who they are What they know and feel What they’ve seen and done Formal v. informal language Tone

8 3 parts of the triangle Audience: uses Appeal to pathos - Speaker must appeal to audience’s values, interests, & emotions Speculate reader’s expectation, knowledge, and disposition Use their own experience and observation

9 3 parts of the triangle Subject: uses Appeal to logos – Subject is the topic. The argument about the topic must be logical What the speaker knows already and needs to know Investigates perspective Determines evidence or proof that seems most useful

10 More on the appeals Logos Offer clear, reasonable premise and proof
Develop ideas with appropriate details Make sure reader can follow progression

11 More on the appeals Ethos
Demonstrate speaker is good-willed, credible, and knowledgeable about subject Connect their thinking to readers’ own ethical or moral beliefs Good man speaking well Assume best intentions and most thoughtful search for truths

12 More on the appeals Pathos Most powerful appeal and most immediate
Draw on emotions and interests of readers Highlights them Personal stories (anecdotes) Provoke sympathetic reaction

13 Other things to consider:
Context: The time, place, and world in which the text takes place shapes how the audience understands the text. The “appropriateness” of the situation (such as timing or cultural & social norms) affects how persuasive the message is. Purpose: What’s the point of this message? Why is the author writing this? What does he/she want you to feel, believe, or think about?

14 Conclusion More important to: Don’t need to memorize the five cannon
Recognize how figures of speech affect readers Be able to use them effectively to persuade and communicate Don’t need to memorize the five cannon Invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery Connections! Words you work with in class with The world around you

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