95127361 curs optional retorica discursului politic

Download 95127361 Curs Optional Retorica Discursului Politic

Post on 30-Oct-2014




4 download

Embed Size (px)


Contents1. Preliminaries ......... 1.1. Rhetorical Devices: Schemes / Figures and Tropes... 1.2. Manipulation through Words. A Definition... 2. Political Speeches .......... 2.1. The Political Speech as Rhetorical Discourse ... 2.2. The Locutors Audience Awareness ... 2.3. Introductory Formulas / Appellatives ... 2.3.1. Appellatives That Address the Whole Audience .. 2.3.2. Appellatives That Address Specific (Categories of) Listeners ... 2.3.3. Appellatives That Address Both Specific (Categories of) Listeners and the Whole Audience . 2.4. Collateral Circumstances 2.4.1. Collateral Circumstances of Place 2.4.2. Collateral Circumstances of Time. 2.4.3. Collateral Circumstances of Issues ... 2.4.4. Collateral Circumstances of Persons Invoking God ... Introducing Oneself . Thanking and Praising or Criticising (Some Members of) the Audience . Thanking and Praising Institutions .. 2.5. The Anticipatory/Opening Story: the Illustration at the Beginning of the Speech . 2.6. The Seductive Power of Amplification in Argumentation ... 2.6.1. Repetition Phonetic Repetition: Alliteration, Consonance and Assonance ..................... Lexical, Morphological and Syntactic Repetition . Anaphora ... Epiphora Polyptoton . 2.6.2. Enumeration . 2.6.3. Accumulation 2.6.4. The Superlative Value of Adjectives and Adverbs in the Positive and the Comparative Degrees . 47 33 36 36 40 42 42 44 30 33 33 26 29 11 14 14 17 19 22 22 24 3 3 4 6 6 7 8 8 11

2.7. Intertextuality as a Rhetorical Device 2.7.1. Quotations Quotations from Religious Texts Quotations from Other Political Speeches . Literary Quotations Quotations from Unacknowledged Sources ... 2.7.2. Allusions .. 2.8. The Arbitrariness of Truth in Public Speeches 2.8.1. A Definition of the Terms . 2.8.2. The Logic of Speaking and the Logic of Thinking. Logical Fallacies in Political Speeches ... 2.9. The Peroration The Place Where Politics and Religion Meet...

49 49 50 52 55 59 61 63 63 64 67


Manipulation through Words: Rhetorical Devices in Political Speeches1. Preliminaries1.1. Rhetorical Devices: Schemes / Figures and Tropes In any analysis of linguistic style similar to that advanced in the current course, a number of rhetorical devices are worth considering because they are important generators and qualifiers of meaning and effect1. Although such devices can be employed at times in spontaneous common uses of language, they are especially the mark of figurative language. Therefore, they are used in texts in which the language is or can be used figuratively: literary texts, rhetorical discourses - such as political speeches, sermons, legal speeches - also the news discourse, etc. What all these types of texts have in common, beside the permission to use the language figuratively, is the fact that their creation involves a process of deliberate organisation of the linguistic material, a process that allows the locutor, be it a speaker or a writer, to select the means of linguistic formulation that best serve his or her ideas, emotions, attitudes, on the one hand, and aims, on the other. Whether the figures of speech are selected consciously or not, the way in which they are given shape in any type of text is a matter of individual creativity. The rhetorical devices are generally divided into two categories: schemes (or figures), and tropes. Rhetorical schemes describe the arrangement of individual sounds (phonological schemes), the arrangement of words (morphological schemes), and sentence structure (syntactical schemes)2. The main phonological schemes are: alliteration, assonance, consonance, and onomatopoeia. Among the most frequent morphological schemes there can be mentioned: accumulation, anadiplosis (or reduplicatio), anaphora, enumeration, epiphora (or epistrophe), epizeuxis, gradatio (or climax), polyptoton, symploce, etc. The syntactical schemes include: asyndeton, ellipsis, hypotaxis, inversion, parallelism, parataxis, polysyndeton3, etc. To this list of rhetorical devices I add three other categories, which can also be considered rhetorical strategies: the introductory formula / appellative, the collateral circumstances of place, of time, of issues and of persons, and the illustration. These rhetorical artifices can make use of any of the devices mentioned above. As these categories are specific to rhetorical speeches, their aspects will be analysed in more detail in this chapter both in the section on the political speeches and in that on sermons. The rhetorical tropes, most frequently referred to as figures of speech, represent a deviation from the common main significance of a word or phrase (semantic figures) or include specific appeals to the audience (pragmatic figures)4. Although the dictionaries of literary terms include a far wider range of figures of speech, the most frequent such devices are: euphemism, hyperbole, litotes (as a special type of meiosis or understatement), metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron, paradox, personification, pun (or paronomasia), simile, synecdoche, tautology, etc. The use of a rhetorical scheme or of a figure of speech in a text, be it written or spoken or, cannot pass unnoticed to an observant eye (or ear) as the text in point becomes stylistically marked. The stylistic analysis of such devices aims at pointing out the effects that they achieve on the recipients and the possible reasons why they were employed in a specific place in the text, as this can account for the locutors personality in terms of education and psychological traits of personality such as intentions, emotions, and attitudes. The truth is that the effects of any stylistic device differ from text to text and within texts, depending on the immediate context5. However, among the possible effects achieved through the use of rhetorical and stylistic devices there can be mentioned: drawing ones attention to certain elements in the text, making a text easier to understand, characterising a certain character in the text or the locutor himself, but possibly the most interesting effect of style is that it can elicit certain1

Stefanie Lethbridge and Jarmilla Mildorf, 2003, Basics of English Studies (An introductory course for students of literary studies in English developed at the English departments of the Universities of Tbingen, Stuttgart and Freiburg), p. 23. 2 Idem. 3 Ibidem. 4 Ibidem. 5 Op. cit., p. 22. 3

emotional responses in readers or listeners. This becomes important especially in texts (spoken or written) that aim to convince other people of something they may not have been convinced of before: political speeches, speeches in court, and sermons.6 In the present chapter, the political speech and the sermon are analysed as types of rhetorical discourses that make use of a wide variety of rhetorical devices. Some of these devices were mentioned above.

1.2. Manipulation through Words. A Definition In everyday life, when people use the verb to manipulate and its nominal and adjectival derivatives, more often than not they associate them with some skills, abilities, tactics that enable a person, a group of people or an institution to get what they want from other people and institutions, or to handle certain objects in nature. According to various dictionary definitions7, these words develop some negative connotations, as the aim of the processes that they describe is one of controlling, deceiving, influencing, handling people. At the same time, they develop positive connotations, too, as such terms as skill, ability, dexterity, knowledge are used to explain the physical and intellectual qualities in a person actively engaged in the process of manipulation. The etymological definition below resolves this apparent semantic contradiction by revealing the processes of extension and of degradation of meaning the word manipulation has been subject to from its initial neutral meaning, through an intermediate stage when it carried positive connotations, to its current figurative meaning, loaded mainly with negative connotations:manipulation c.1730s, from Fr. manipulation, from manipule handful (a pharmacists measure), from L. manipulus handful, sheaf, from manus hand + root of plere to fill. Originally in Eng. a method of digging ore, sense of skillful handling of objects is first recorded in 1826; sense soon extended to handling of persons as well as objects; manipulative is from 1836.8 (all emphases in the original)

In order to cover the complexity of the topic in point, throughout the present chapter I consider both its negative and its positive implications. The terms to manipulate, manipulation, and manipulative are used to refer to the process by which politicians and clergymen, making use of their psychological and linguistic abilities, skills and tactics, influence their addressees through their speeches. These influences can manifest either way. The people to whom a particular speech is delivered may change their own opinions for some better or for some worse ones. They may start acting in the name of a good cause or of a bad one. They also may get emotionally touched in a positive or in a negative way. In short, whether intellectually, behaviourally, or emotionally, people can be influenced or manipulated through words. Moreover, manipulation is considered here a matter of speaking to people politely and skilfully without generating negative feelings towards the locutor, therefore, its semantics contains a [+Diplomacy] seme. The psychological components of the process of manipulation belong to the art of rhetoric, also known as the art of persuading by speaking beautifully9. They refer to the way in which the speaker thinks and mentally structures his arguments. These components are mental representations of the rhetorical devices; they describe the mental articulation of