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Using English Language to Persuade

  • Date Submitted: 01/11/2015 06:39 AM
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What linguistic features are typically employed when the English language is used to persuade? In what ways do these features vary according to context? Illustrate your answer by reference to specific examples.

This essay will be looking at the linguistic features utilised when using the English Language to persuade. To illustrate my argument I will be examining a political speech, a government safety campaign and adverts for beauty products. These are all sources that I believe are employing persuasive methods and I will be considering features such as the use of pronouns, repetition, metaphor and euphemisms. I will also examine the context of the text and consider the writer and the audience.

Politicians make regular public speeches and often use rhetoric, ‘the art of using language effectively so as to persuade or influence others’ (OED). According to Beard (2007, p55) rhetoric is a term that ‘has increasingly negative connotations’. The Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a speech at the end of the Conservative Party Conference in October 2011 and his audience where the Conservative government and Conservative party members. However, the speech was also broadcast nationally and quoted and reported on in the media. Although the speech was presented by Cameron it is possible that he receives help with his speeches and that his wider audience would have been very much in mind during its writing.

Evidence that Cameron is aware of this wider audience is shown through his slightly ambiguous use of the personal pronoun ‘our’ when he refers to “our economic future, our social problems, our political system”. He could just be referring to the Conservative party or he could mean the general public and prospective voters. Further use of pronouns can be seen when he says “I'm proud of my team, I'm proud of our members, I'm proud to lead this party - but most of all, I'm proud of you”. One would imagine in this instance that the ‘you’ he is proud of is...


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