terms for rhetorical analysis A-Z

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Terms in this set (39)
Common grounda point in which groups of general disagreement can agree. Writers use the technique of starting from common ground if their target audience is likely to oppose their claim or reject their arguments.ArgumentAn argument from definition is based on definitions of key words, including arguing from nature, category, or class.definition of termsKey terms must be defined, the definition of terms, when the target audience is likely to disagree or when they come from a very different background or discourse community from the writer.DeliveryIn oral rhetoric, delivery refers to the ways an orator uses his or her voice and gestures to accompany the spoken words.DialecticDialectic describes a process of seeking truth through questioning. The Platonic model of dialectic is a cooperative exchange between two speakers, beginning with a definition of terms and ending with synthesis that approaches philosophic, universal understanding.DilemmaA dilemma occurs when all choices presented appear to be unacceptable. Usually a dilemma is false and easily refuted because other alternatives can be found.Pathos (emotional appeal)An appeal to the emotions (pathos) of the target audience may gain their sympathy and assent. TV commercials asking viewers to sponsor a third world child rely heavily on emotional appeals.EthosIn rhetorical theory, the appeal of speakers or writers to their own credibility and character is called ethics (ethos). The Greek term ethos is sometimes called the ethical appeal in modern rhetoric handbooks.EvidenceWriters use evidence (support) to back up assertions or claims to persuade an audience to accept their argument as being grounded. Evidence takes many forms, including testimony, appeal to experts, facts, statistics, logic, and scientific data.ExaggerationExaggeration means overstating to emphasize or illustrate a point, appeal to emotion, or get attention. An effective technique, especially when writers are using humor or irony, it is also called hyperbole.ExampleAn example is one specific instance used by writers to illustrate, clarify, or bolster an argument by showing precedents. Anecdotes may serve as extended examples. Although most people find examples helpful and entertaining, they are not considered sufficient for evidence.FallacyFallacy is the use of faulty logic or poor arguments.FactAs opposed to an opinion, a fact is an assertion supported by solid, irrefutable, quantifiable or empirical evidence or by expert testimony. A fact is usually widely accepted as true. Writers use facts as one way to support a claim.ImaginationThe origin of the word imagination can be traced to the Greek phantasia, which stood for cognition in general. Phantasia, or phantasy, is the process of combining and storing phantasms in the mindirony/ironicIrony means stating the opposite of what is really meant. An ironic tone may be funny or shocking. Writers must have a good idea of whether the target audience will understand the irony.Loaded dictationLoaded diction (slanted language) means using biased or prejudiced word choices that predispose a reader to one position. Though it may be under suspect to reasonable audience members, loaded diction may also be an effective way to sway an audience.LogosAppeals to logic (logos) show readers that writers are sensible and thoughtful. The basis of logic is the deductive syllogism, a series of generalizations (premises) that lead to a conclusion. Logic can also be inductive, as are classical scientific experiments. From a mass of specific and particular data, a conclusion is drawn.ParadoxParadox means a seeming contradiction but one which does contain some truth, such as "so close and yet so far" or "a youthful octogenarian." Paradox is usually used to show the complexity of an idea, to make a point, or for poetic effect.ParallelismParallelism means repetition of a word or grammatical structure for effect. The classic example comes from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, with the repetition of the phrase "I have a dream." Usually the repetition will follow the same grammatical pattern (such as Subject-Verb-Object). Parallelism is used for emphasis, rhythm, and poetic effect.Red HerringsWriters use red herrings when they distract an audience's attention from the main point. This technique is often pointed out as a fallacy.RefuteTo refute (rebut) is to successfully argue against an argument. Many arguments contain a refutation section in which the writer points out fallacies in his opponent's argument.Rhetorical QuestionA rhetorical question is a question not meant to be answered but to be pondered. A rhetorical question will be ineffective if it can be answered with a simple yes or no. Feminist abolitionist Sojourner Truth is known for her rhetorical question, "Ain't I a woman?"Slippery slopeA slippery slope assumes that if one action is taken, it will lead to inevitable and inexorable consequences. For example, if one Aggie sits down during a football game, soon everyone will; then all our traditions will be ruined. Often considered a fallacy, a slippery slope can easily be refuted by invoking other consequences.StatisticsStatistics are facts expressed in quantifiable form such as numbers, charts, or graphs that can lend support to a claim or warrant but that are not irrefutable proof. Although statistics can be manipulated to misrepresent the facts, they are usually quite convincing.Straw ManWriters using a straw man will claim their opponents hold a position they do not in fact hold, and then attack that position. It is mainly a diversionary tactic. The straw man is considered a fallacy.TestimonyTestimony (also, citation) is using the words or ideas of an expert to give an argument greater credibility. Doubt can be cast on testimony by showing equally qualified experts disagree. Or the expert's credentials or qualifications can be questioned.ToneAs a stylistic technique, tone can be effective in imparting emotion. It is the predominant character of a prose style, how writers sound to an audience: arrogant, silly, serious, authoritative, celebratory, sarcastic, worried, etc. A writer's tone is achieved by using persuasive techniques, by word choice, and by other means.WarrantsWarrants are the assumptions, the general principles, the conventions of specific disciplines, widely held values, commonly accepted beliefs, or appeals to human motives that are an important part of any argument.Thats the end...hey! you'r not supposed to be back here! go! NOW!