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date: 25 February 2024


The Oxford Companion to the English Language
Tom McArthurTom McArthur, Jacqueline Lam-McArthurJacqueline Lam-McArthur, Lise FontaineLise Fontaine

1. The study and practice of effective communication.2. The art of persuasion.3. An insincere eloquence intended to win points and get people what they want. All three senses have run side by side for more than 2,000 years. In the late 20c, rhetoric has an explicit and an implicit aspect. Explicitly, many 20c language professionals refer to rhetoric as archaic and irrelevant, while for some philosophers of communication and for many teachers of writing it is a significant and lively issue. In the latter circles, there is discussion of a ‘new rhetoric’ that blends the best of the old with current insights into the nature of communication. It is, however, an ironic measure of the centuries-old strength of rhetoric that many of its principles, concepts, and devices are taken as given by educated users of languages like English, French, and German. Terms like ... ...

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