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rhetorical turn


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A change in emphasis in the discourse of the humanities and social sciences reflecting a recognition (outside the academic field of rhetoric itself) that rhetorical forms are deeply and unavoidably involved in the shaping of realities. Form and content are inseparable; language is not a neutral medium and our choice of words matters. To say that a glass is ‘half empty’ is not the same as saying that it is ‘half full’. It has been distinguished from the linguistic turn primarily through its stronger anti-objectivism and its emphasis on the loadedness of language (see also loaded language). A book entitled The Rhetorical Turn by the American communication theorist Herbert W. Simons (b.1939) was published in 1990.


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