Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Rhetorical

I've had a series of discussions with a friend lately, exploring why it is that we have to suppress our vocabularies to have conversations with certain people, or how certain speeches or books are so thrilling. And of course, it all comes back to a good command of rhetoric.

In rhetoric, there are six factors to consider, three rhetorical appeals, and three rhetorical situations:
  1. Logos: the logical appeal using facts and reasoning
  2. Ethos: the ethical appeal, using the strength of the speaker's character
  3. Pathos: the pathetic appeal, invoking emotion in the audience
  • Audience: who is reading or hearing this?
  • Occasion: where/when is this being written/said?
  • Purpose: why does this need to be written/said?
A good balance of these, with the correct medium (I'll talk about that later) creates a triangle of communication. Only when the triangle is balanced can the message be accurately communicated to the audience.
This is why we sometimes use a different vocabulary to talk to certain people. This is why sometimes, a speaker or a writer will stir you up and make you really believe what they are saying.

Below is an excellent example of rhetoric. This man's speech convinced me on an issue that I had been undecided on. That is what good rhetoric does!


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