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Duff Language Terms, Part One

refers to language that describes concepts rather than concrete images ( ideas and qualities rather than observable or specific things, people, or places). The observable or "physical" is usually described in concrete language.
Ad Hominem
In an argument, this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent's ideas. It comes from the Latin meaning "against the man."
an extended narrative in prose or verse in which characters, events, and settings represent abstract qualities and in which the writer intends a second meaning to be read beneath the surface of the story; the underlying meaning may be moral, religious, political, social, or satiric. Examples: John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (Temptations of Christians) , Orwell's Animal Farm (Russian Revolution), and Arthur Miller's Crucible ("Red Scare")
repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are close to one another: Mickey Mouse; Donald Duck; Daffy Duck; Suzy Sells Seashells ...
a reference to a well-known person, place, or thing from literature, history, etc. Example: Eden, Scrooge, Prodigal Son, Catch-22, Judas, Don Quixote, Mother Theresa
Comparison of two similar but different things, usually to clarify an action or a relationship, such as comparing the work of a heart to that of a pump. A comparison to a directly parallel case. Examples:
Shells were to ancient cultures as dollar bills are to modern American culture.
Running a business is like managing an orchestra.
The heart is like a pump.
Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. This is a deliberate form of repetition and helps make the writer's point more coherent. Examples:
"There was the delight I caught in seeing long straight rows. There was the faint, cool kiss of sensuality. There was the vague sense of the infinite...."
"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender. " Churchill.
"So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado...." Martin Luther King, Jr.
a short, simple narrative of an incident; often used for humorous effect or to make a point.
Explanatory notes added to a text to explain, cite sources, or give bibliographical data.
the presentation of two contrasting images. The ideas are balanced by word, phrase, clause, or paragraphs. Examples:
"To be or not to be..." Shakespeare's Hamlet
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country...." Kennedy
"The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Lincoln
a short, often witty statement of a principle or a truth about life. Examples:
"Early bird gets the worm."
"What goes around, comes around.."
"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
usually in poetry but sometimes in prose; the device of calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent person or to a place, thing, or personified abstraction
"For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him." Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
writing that attempts to prove the validity of a point of view or an idea by presenting reasoned arguments; persuasive writing is a form of this.
repetition of vowel sounds between different consonants, such as in neigh/fade.
Commas used (with no conjunction) to separate a series of words. The parts are emphasized equally when the conjunction is omitted; in addition, the use of commas with no intervening conjunction speeds up the flow of the sentence. Takes the form of X, Y, Z as opposed to X, Y, and Z.
"Be one of the few, the proud, the Marines." Marine Corps
"We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." John F. Kennedy
". . . and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." Abraham Lincoln
harsh, awkward, or dissonant sounds used deliberately in poetry or prose; the opposite of euphony.
descriptive writing that greatly exaggerates a specific feature of a person's appearance or a facet of personality.
a word or phrase (including slang) used in everyday conversation and informal writing but that is often inappropriate in formal writing (y'all, ain't)
quality of a piece of writing in which all the parts contribute to the development of the central idea, theme, or organizing principle
Concrete Language
Language that describes specific, observable things, people, or places, rather than ideas or qualities.
implied or suggested meaning of a word because of its association in the reader's mind.
repetition of identical consonant sounds within two or more words in close proximity, as in boost/best; it can also be seen within several compound words, such as fulfill and ping-pong
a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun; it may also be a paradox or difficult problem
the process of moving from a general rule to a specific example
literal meaning of a word as defined
the picturing in words of something or someone through detailed observation of color, motion, sound, taste, smell, and touch; one of the four modes of discourse
word choice, an element of style; it creates tone, attitude, and style, as well as meaning. Different types and arrangements of words have significant effects on meaning. An essay written in academic ______ would be much less colorful, but perhaps more precise than street slang.
writing whose purpose is to instruct or to teach. The work is usually formal and focuses on moral or ethical concerns. This type of writing may be fiction or nonfiction that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behavior or thinking.
spoken or written language, including literary works; the four traditionally classified modes of ____________ are description, exposition, narration, and persuasion.
harsh or grating sounds that do not go together
Dramatic Irony
When the reader is aware of an inconsistency between a fictional or nonfictional character's perception of a situation and the truth of that situation.
Emotional Appeal
When a writer appeals to readers' emotions (often through pathos) to excite and involve them in the argument.
the use of a quotation at the beginning of a work that hints at its theme. Hemingway begins The Sun Also Rises with two quotations. One of them is "You are all a lost generation" by Gertrude Stein.
repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect (as Lincoln's "of the people, by the people, for the people") Compare to anaphora.
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child." (Corinthians)
I'll have my bond!/ Speak not against my bond!/ I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.---The Merchant of Venice
Ethical Appeal
When a writer tries to persuade the audience to respect and believe him or her based on a presentation of image of self through the text. Reputation is sometimes a factor in this type of appeal, but in all cases the aim is to gain the audience's confidence. (Ethos)
a more acceptable and usually more pleasant way of saying something that might be inappropriate or uncomfortable. "He went to his final reward" is a common saying for "he died." These are also often used to obscure the reality of a situation. The military uses "collateral damage" to indicate civilian deaths in a military operation.
a succession of harmonious sounds used in poetry or prose; the opposite of cacophony
An individual instance taken to be representative of a general pattern. Arguing through this process is considered reliable if _______________ are demonstrable as true or factual as well as relevant.
The art of interpreting or discovering the meaning of a text. It usually involves close reading and special attention to figurative language.
the immediate revelation to the audience of the setting and other background information necessary for understanding the plot; also, explanation; one of the four modes of discourse
Extended Metaphor
a sustained comparison, often referred to as a conceit. This is developed throughout a piece of writing
False Analogy
When two cases are not sufficiently parallel to lead readers to accept a claim of connection between them.
Figurative Language
language that contains figures of speech, such as similes and metaphors, in order to create associations that are imaginative rather than literal.
Figures of Speech
expressions, such as similes, metaphors, and personifications, that make imaginative, rather than literal, comparisons or associations.
the use of a hint or clue to suggest a larger event that occurs late in the work
Sentence consisting of three or more very short independent clauses joined by conjunctions.
When a writer bases a claim upon an isolated example or asserts that a claim is certain rather than probable. 'Sweeping' forms of these occur when a writer asserts that a claim applies to all instances instead of some.
a type of literary work, such as a novel or poem; there are also sub______, such as science fiction or sonnet, within the larger ones
the excessive pride of ambition that leads a tragic hero to disregard warnings of impending doom, eventually causing his or her downfall.
anything that causes laughter or amusement; up until the end of the Renaissance, this meant a person's temperament
deliberate exaggeration in order to create humor or emphasis (Example: He was so hungry he could have eaten a horse.)
A word or words, either figurative or literal, used to describe a sensory experience or an object perceived by the sense. This is always a concrete representation.
words or phrases that use a collection of images to appeal to one or more of the five senses in order to create a mental picture
the process that moves from a given series of specifics to a generalization
a conclusion one can draw from the presented details
Interior Monologue
writing that records the conversation that occurs inside a character's head
a verbally abusive attack
reversing the customary (subject first, then verb, then complement) order of elements in a sentence or phrase; it is used effectively in many cases, such as posing a question: "Are you going to the store?" Usually, the element that appears first is emphasized more than the subject.
a situation or statement in which the actual outcome or meaning is opposite to what was expected.
The special language of a profession or group. The term usually has pejorative associations, with the implication that it is evasive, tedious, and unintelligible to outsiders. The writings of the lawyer and the literary critic are both susceptible to this.
the process of reasoning
Logical Fallacy
a mistake in reasoning
Songlike; characterized by emotions, subjectivity, and imagination.