For Arguments Sake: Speaker Evaluation in Modern Political Discourse Douglas Mark Penton

ISBN: 9781443829373

Published: June 1st 2011

Hardcover

225 pages


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For Arguments Sake: Speaker Evaluation in Modern Political Discourse  by  Douglas Mark Penton

For Arguments Sake: Speaker Evaluation in Modern Political Discourse by Douglas Mark Penton
June 1st 2011 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 225 pages | ISBN: 9781443829373 | 3.41 Mb

The topic of this book is persuasive rhetoric in political discourse. It asks a familiar, though as yet only partially answered question-how is it that human beings can be persuaded to do things through language? Why do we find certain speakers, certain arguments convincing, while we reject others almost without a second thought?

Is there any connection between the substance of an argument and its persuasive force- or do we acquiesce to propositions on largely subconscious grounds? Douglas Pontons answer to these ambitious questions follows a discourse semantics approach, in the footsteps of Martin and White, who have demonstrated the application of their theories to political rhetoric (e.g.

2005: 171-209). Evaluative language, the author suggests, plays a crucial role in attempts to persuade listeners. The book explores the notion that the persuasive force of evaluative language derives from its use within an argumentative structure (Aristotles logos), to explore which Ponton uses the well-known model proposed by Toulmin (1958).

In the first part of the book, the author explores issues relating to the methodology used- the second part is taken up by actual analyses carried out on six speeches by modern rhetors celebrated for their oratorical skills: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, Tony Benn and William Hague. The author has tried to select speakers, and speeches, of great intrinsic interest as well as historical importance, though his main criterion has been the suitability of the speech for analysis in the terms of the study.



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