Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Writing,rhetoric

A Study of Obama’s Persuasion from the Perspective of Neo-Aristotelian Rhetoric

Author XuJiaoJiao
Tutor LiuLiDa
School Harbin Institute of Technology
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Neo-Aristotelian Rhetoric Language Rhetoric and Speech Rhetoric Obama’s Rhetorical Strategies Persuasion
CLC H315
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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This thesis is of a qualitative study, which is focused on the research of Neo-Aristotelian rhetorical theory and its practical application. Under the theoretical framework of Neo-Aristotelian rhetoric, persuasion strategies of Obama’s six speeches are analyzed in terms of language rhetoric and speech rhetoric. Persuasion is a way of delivery of speaker’s intent and ideas, by which an orator affects his public audiences to accept his viewpoints, or persuades the audiences into some actions. The examination of these strategies and analysis of the Obama’s rhetorical strategies are made point by point in order to explore charm and beauty reflected in Obama’s persuasion.The present pilot study, with Neo-Aristotelian rhetoric as the theoretical basis, examines Obama’s persuasive strategies in both language rhetoric and speech rhetoric. Language rhetoric involves phonological, lexical, syntactical, and textual aspects; speech rhetoric is concerned with appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos. Six of Obama’s speeches (14,690 words in total) have been chosen as the subjects to find the ways Obama achieves in his persuasion and the effect on his intended audiences. Persuasion strategies used, choices for rhetorical strategies, power of his language and its effects, and perfection of the persuasive process are analyzed. The Neo-Aristotelian rhetorical theory provides the possibility for the present research of Obama’s persuasion.This study shows that Obama, with help of rhetorical strategies in both language level and speech level, delivers great and effective speeches, in that he succeeds in persuading his audiences into a change of attitude and action. The study also indicates that phonological and syntactical strategies in language rhetoric are salient; and logos and pathos used in speech rhetoric are distinct. This research could be viewed as a new and better way of understanding Obama’s speeches from the perspective of Neo-Aristotelian rhetoric and a novel integration of modern rhetoric with Obama’s persuasion.

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