persuasion

CDA speeches! A practical exploration of Aristotle’s artistic proofs and other rhetorical techniques

by Craig Evans

For last week’s Critical Discourse Analysis module, several students volunteered to write speeches which they then delivered in the seminars. The purpose of the exercise was to explore the way that features of classical rhetoric, in particular Aristotle’s artistic proofs, work in persuasive writing. The format involved four speakers in each seminar making opposing arguments on two topics. After each speech the rest of the seminar group were asked to discuss the rhetorical merits of the speech; and after each topic, a vote was held to decide which argument had won the most support.

The two topics chosen by students to speak on were immigration and the Oscar Pistorius trial. Speakers were asked to argue against or for the following propositions:

“Immigration has gone far enough and a firm limit should now be placed on Britain’s borders”

“Oscar Pistorius is guilty of murder and should be sentenced accordingly” Continue reading

Rhetoricitus: Why Politicians Need Our Sympathy

by Craig Evans

The accusation often levelled against politicians is that they are not straight with people, but I’m inclined to believe that it’s not entirely their fault. After all, they do have an affliction, a language condition (let’s call it rhetoricitus) which prevents them from saying exactly what they think.

The BBC has been campaigning for years to raise awareness of the plight of rhetoricitus sufferers, and every Thursday their in-house specialist, Mr David Dimbleby, runs a workshop. At the workshop, the brave men and women of Westminster are invited along to demonstrate the crippling effects of their affliction on their ability to give straight answers to questions posed by members of the public. With the workshops being broadcast on both television and radio, the hope is that such exposure will take away the stigma associated with rhetoricitus whilst encouraging people to be more accepting of sufferers’ use of language.

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