Language plays an important role in our life
Language plays an important role in our life, it determines our perceptions, opinions, and behaviors. For this reason, the use of language is an organizational process, which depends basically on persuasion elements. Another key point, language uses rhetoric to find means of persuasion, in order to change or reinforce the beliefs of the audience. Therefore, orators such as politicians gain authority power through the power of words; hence the words have an ability to convey numerous issues and impressions. The classical rhetoric studied persuasion and how the orators communicate with the audience in an effective and engaging way. On account of the rhetoric importance, it is described as the art of persuasion, that means rhetoric is a technique of persuasion. Although rhetoric functions on all human communication, it is a skill that can be developed. This paper discusses the Persuasion in English, classical rhetoric, rhetorical strategies, and application on George Bush speech after the terror attacks on September 2001.
Persuasion refers to the use of language by one party to encourage another to accept a point of view (Charteris-Black, 2016). That is to say, persuasion is a complex process, because it is an interaction between two parties: first; the orator who uses words, images, colors, sounds, and paralanguage such as tears, smiles, and raised voiced to transmit a certain message, and has the intention to influence, change, or modify the audience opinions, attitudes, values, or beliefs. second; the audience, who receive the symbols and respond to the orator’s effects. In addition, persuasion is an essential part of our life, therefore, it must have a message, and its message may be verbal and/or nonverbal, face to face or via the Internet or television, factual or emotional. Persuasion includes a wide range of activities, but the most effective activities are in media, marketing, advertisements, political campaigns, and elections.
Persuasion, according to the American academic Richard M. Perloff, is a symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behavior regarding an issue through the transmission of a message, in an atmosphere of free choice (Perloff, 2010). That means the power of persuasion is its depending basically on self-persuasion, the orator’s function is to strengthen and reinforce beliefs and opinions, and the audience isn’t coerced at all, this is the key, audience persuades themselves. When the audience has the right to choose freely and has the ability to act other than what the orator recommend, the persuasion process will succeed perfectly.
The methods that the orator or the speaker used in order to convince individual or audience is known as ‘rhetoric’. Some scholars defined rhetoric as the art of persuasion and using language, and with its techniques, you can analysis political speech, advertisement, and journalism. In the political contexts, politicians ought to say what they mean, and mean what they say, therefore they use certain devices to convey their point of view, for example; the politician may describe the increase of immigrants like a flood to express its danger, so they use metaphors and euphemisms, or they may use the humor device as to engage themselves emotionally with the audience.
Rhetoric is not just about a set of techniques for creating great speeches or effective communication. Rhetoric is one of the most ancient studies which is studied in Greece and Rome from the fifth century B.C. to the early Middle Ages. The English word ‘rhetoric’ is derived from the Greek word ‘rhetorike’ which reveal how extent the Greek culture on the rhetoric concept. Thus, rhetoric foundations the basic theories of persuasion until this century. The theory of rhetoric is firstly developed by the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle. He defined ‘rhetoric’ as “Let rhetoric be defined as an ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion. This is the function of no other art; for each of the others is instructive and persuasive about its own subject” (ThoughtCo, 2018).
Classical rhetoric which is considered as a combination of argumentation and persuasion (Universiteit Twente, 2018), divided into three main branches of rhetoric; judicial, deliberative, and demonstrative. The judicial rhetoric is the oratory of the courtroom and in legal cases. There were no lawyers in Greece and Rome, and it is common that citizens went to the court a lot, as prosecutors or respondents. Therefore, many schools of rhetoric emerged to train laypeople the skills and techniques of defending themselves in court. On the other hand, marginal rhetorical used to persuade an audience to take a certain course of action or to adopt a set of beliefs. It aimed to “advise about things to come” (Aristotle et al., 1984) as Aristotle said. A political oratory is a sub-category of deliberative rhetoric. However, demonstrative rhetoric occurred in more formal public ceremonies, such as graduation and retirement routes, and nominating statements at political conventions.
Aristotle thought that rhetoric has five canons or rules: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. The invention is the process of developing your argument, by taking in your consideration the audience’s needs and interests. While the arrangement is the process of arranging and organizing your argument. The style, however, is the process of determining how you present your argument, including your word choices, sentence structures. Scholars identified three types of style: the plain style, the middle style, and the grand style. The plain style -according to Richard Lanham- depends on three main values; clarity, brevity, and sincerity. It is known as low style since it is direct and simple. However, the grand style depends on the emotional tone. It moves the audience feelings towards certain actions. This style is usually used to fuel revolutions. The middle style is used to please the audience, therefore, it is a moderate speech. The perfect orator who is the one who is able to choose the strong style which is appropriate to the surrounding circumstances, and uses it brilliantly to reach his aims. The fourth canon is the memory; the process of memorizing your speech, by following some techniques to improve your memory, so you can deliver it without using notes. The delivery; the final canon, is the process of how to deliver your speech, using gesture, and tone of voice. This canon is very important because it has the ability to make the speech effective and respectful (ThoughtCo, 2018).
The philosopher Aristotle, the master of rhetoric sat fundamental elements and strategies to make the speech great. He said that rhetoric is based on three appeals; the first one logical appeal or “logos” which means the use of logic. This appeal uses evidence, reasoning, established facts, and statistics to construct a good argument and convince the audience. The second is emotional appeal or “pathos” which means the use of emotions, and imagination to invoke the audience’s feelings and influence them. Although this appeal is very effective, it sometimes can be tricky. Pathos uses these ways to persuade; metaphors, stories, humor, words that evoke people emotionally, and changing the tone of voice. The last appeal is “ethos” refers to the credibility of the speaker, and the good reputation of him. The speaker can build ethos through his authority and morality by developing his character, expertise, and qualified, so the audience trust what he is saying (The Visual Communication Guy: Designing, Writing, and Communication Tips for the Soul, 2018).