Some language effects used in oral transactional
texts and speeches. Note: Some of these appear in poetic texts also.
Rhetorical means language and effects used
to impress or persuade the audience.
a question asked for effect, but not necessarily
needing to be answered
Example: Are we going to put up with curfews
and being hassled by the police up town? Who cares? Do you think it is right? I don't. How do you stay healthy on a diet of
chips and chocolate?
trying to impress or influence by overstating
a viewpoint, statement or idea
Example: Millions of students all over
the world go home and rush eagerly into their homework in order to secure their future.
As above, but understating a viewpoint
Example: A few students will wander home
and perhaps turn on television.
When two opposite viewpoints, ideas or
concepts are placed close to each other for effect.
Example: The two examples above could be
an example of contrast if put together. OR Let us break the chains, shackles and nightmare of slavery and embrace each other
in the dream of freedom.
Quotations from well-known sources
Such as the Bible, television, movies,
proverbs and clichés: to link with our audience and our common, shared experiences.
Example: Turn the other cheek; An eye for
an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Yabba Dabba DOOO; Eat my shorts; It's moments like these..... Make my day; I'll be back!; Shaken,
not stirred. A stitch in time saves nine; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush Straight from the horse's mouth
CONSCIOUS USE OF PERSONAL PRONOUNS
As speakers we want to make our audience
agree with us in our viewpoints and be against things we are against. The deliberate use of including or excluding pronouns
help speakers do this.
Pronouns to address the audience
Basically to address them as a group, but
not necessarily to persuade them at this stage.
Example: You are here tonight to witness
the finals of the speech contest, where your sons and daughters face up to a great challenge.
Pronouns to include the audience
Speakers want the audience to be on their
side and agree with their statements/ideas
Example: We came here tonight to choose
our town symbol. We don't want a clock - Alexandra has a clock. We don't want a humungus trout as our symbol - Rakaia and
Turangi have megatrouts. Let us choose our White Horse - it's ours and always will be.
Pronouns to exclude the audience or to
distance the audience:
Sometimes we want to distance the audience
from those who have differing arguments.
Example: So our elders want a curfew in
Waimate. They think it is a good idea to have a curfew of on a school night for people of our age. Let them have a curfew of so that they can be out of the pubs and clubs and home with their families as well.
They cause more harm in society than teenagers do.
Similar in effect to use of pronouns, choice
of words packed with emotion can influence an audience for or against your ideas, to be with you or against you.
Words With Positive Connotation
Warm fuzzy words that help to get the audience
on your side.
Example: Imagine the perfect scene, not
a care in the world, walking down the street hand in hand with your adoring parents....they stop and buy you a $1.50 triple
scoop choc dipped ice cream.....
Words With Negative Connotation
These weasel words have the opposite effects
to positively charged emotive words.
Example: From a distance you see them appear,
dressed in black, hair like knotted liquorice. Their top lips quiver and sneer in unison like Elvis with a toothache. They
see you and appear to scowl and grunt at each other and point at you accusingly.
Similar to exaggeration and understatement
close together, +ve and -ve words in close proximity can highlight and improve the effectiveness of your ideas
Example: Your 'nice' day is now ruined.
The triple scoop ice cream melts then drips all over your black jersey and up your sleeve. You try sneering like the black-uniformed
teenagers in front of you, but your lips are numb from the "ice-cream treat", but what tops it off is that your parents say
to you in their loudest voice "Aren't you going to introduce us to your friends dear?". You look around for the nearest manhole
cover and hope you can prise it open with sticky, ice-cream covered fingers.
Some language effects used in oral &
written transactional texts and speeches. Note: Some of these appear in poetic texts also.
Speeches are normally only meant to be
heard once, so the speaker normally tries to make main ideas, keywords and phrases memorable using sound effects and devices.
Repeating the initial consonant of a group
of words for aural effect and memorability
Example: We've all heard of Richie Rich,
Daffy Duck, Fred Flintstone, Sylvester Stallone and Morris Minor, but the latest and nastiest alliterative villain to slam
our screens - a cartoon nasty that leaves Lex Luthor and Dick Dastardly in his dust - is Vicious Vinnie
Repeating vowel sounds for aural effect
Example: laugh, laugh, cackle and guffaw.
That Sam-I-am, That Sam-I-am, I do not like, That Sam-I-am
Where the words used sound like the thing
or concept being described
Example: wind swishing or moaning in the
frost crunching underfoot
cock a doodle doo woof woof
Words sounding similar that are pleasant
to the ear...they also appeal because the listener can almost predict a part of the speech.
Example: chocolate chips, greasy dips and
dairy whips these are the foods that little teenagers are made of
Language that creates a picture in the
mind of the listener can assist in the interest level of a speech. The listener visualises or imagines figures, images and
Describing two unrelated things using direct
comparison. Sometimes the metaphor can be drawn out and becomes an Extended Metaphor.
Example: .....her gaze was icy...
...the salesman was a shark..
the whole sorry incident left a sour taste
for every one concerned.
Politicians should darn the holes in the
ragged economy before we all start to feel the cold.
Describing two unrelated things or ideas
using the linkers "like" or "as"
Example: My love is like a red, red rose
that's newly sprung in June, My love is like a melody that's sweetly played in tune.
....As fast as a leopard; As good as gold;
as thick as a brick; as sharp as a tack; as silly as a two bob watch; as crook as a dog; like a rat up a drainpipe; like bees
around a honeypot.
Giving human qualities to non human or
Example: The New Zealand Dollar had a quiet
Life dealt him a heavy blow
Clouds passed sorrowfully over the graveyard
OTHER ORATORICAL DEVICES
There are some other devices which help
to make speeches more interesting, vibrant, memorable.
Hammer home a point and make it memorable
Example: Trust is an important concept
in society. If you can't trust friends not to blab your secrets all over school; if you can't trust teachers not to blast
you for something that he or she let someone away with yesterday; if parents can't trust you enough to let you borrow the
car - how can you survive in the modern world.
This is like repetition, except that phrases
and groups of words are repeated for effect
Example: I have a dream. I have a dream
that the sons and daughters of former slaves and the sons and daughters of former slaveowners will sit down at the table of
We shall fight them on the beaches, we
shall fight them on land and in the air.
In order to emphasise important points
lists are often used
Example: Instead of: this school rule change
affects all students, say this new school rule change affects form 1's ; form 2's; form 3's; form 4's; form 5's; form 6's;
and even form 7's.
OR instead of saying a superannuation
law change affects everyone say: This law change will impact on town people and country people; rich people and poor people,
maori, pacific islander, Asian and European; employed and unemployed alike.