Saturday, 9 October 2010

Evaluating Types of Discourse/Rhetorical Modes

Hello Students please be reminded of the reading for the next class which is on Analyzing Discourse Types. Please see below:

1. Cape Communication Studies (McDermott) pg 46-52; 74-83
2. Writing in English (Section 3) Chps 8-11

In your reading you are to look for:

a. The Definition of 'Discourse'
b. The Definition of 'Main Idea'
c. The motives for choosing a particular type of discourse
d. The differences between the different types of discourse: description, narration, exposition, persuasion, and argumentation.

Technical/Scientific Writing vs Artistic Writing
There are two (2) major Prose discourse types - Technical/Scientific Writing and Artistic Writing. Below is how the two differ:

Technical Writing                                                 Artistic Writing
1. Objective                                                            Subjective
2. Scientific data, figures & statistics                 Opinions, Biases
3. Precise language                                                  Figurative Language
4. Denotative/Concrete words                                 Connotative Words
5. Neutral Tone                                                       Affective Tone

There are at least five (5) modes of rhetoric that may utilize either one or a combination of technical and artistic writing depending on the topic, purpose for writing, and audience. Rhetoric is simply defined as the art of influencing the thought and conduct of an audience.It also refers to the specialized literary uses of language and the ability to use language effectively in communication.

Types of Discourse/Rhetoric
Description
The main purpose of this type of discourse is to explain or describe some concept, person or setting, thought to be unfamiliar, to the audience. Descriptive writing uses various organizational/spatial strategies. For example in describing a house on a hill, a writer may start describing what it looks like starting from the base of the hill upwards (ground view). Another writer may start by describing how it looks from the skies going downwards to the base of the hill (aerial view).
Narration
The main purpose and distinguishing factor of this writing is to explain some concept according to a given time sequence. For example, The first thing Tory did when she arrived in the beautiful island of Jamaica was to take a dip in the beautiful azure ocean of the North Coast. Afterwards, she went to the infamous jerk restaurant, 'Scotchies', for some delicious jerk chicken, festival and roast corn. She then ordered two glasses of refreshing red stripe beer, which she savored as she rocked to the irie music floting in the island breeze. As the sun was about to set, she contacted a reliable tour company and went for a relaxing drive along the sea coast culminating in a tour of the alluring fern gully which covered with miles of the most gorgeous indegenious ferns.
Exposition
The main purpose of exposition is to define, inform, teach or explain some concept. As such, the expectation of expository writing is for it to be objective, precise and neutral (free from bias and prejudice). In otherwords, it mostly uses technical/scientific writing. Writers also employ a combination of varied organizational strategies in expostion, depending on their topic, audience and purpose for writing. These may include, cause and effect, comparison/contrast, definition, description/illustration etc.
Persuasion
The main purpose of this type of writing is to convince or influence readers to accept a particular point of view. Persuasive writing does this by mainly appealing to readers' emotions. In this type of writing you may find the use of emotive words, repitition, figurative language, opinions, biases etc. In otherwords, this type of writing relies heavily on artistic writing.
Argumentation
The main purpose of this type of writing is to convince or influence readers to accept a particular point of view. Argumentative writing does this by appealing to readers' logic. Readers expect  a strong piece of argumentative writing to be as objective and neutral as possible, and to convince them by presenting them with statistcal/scientific data, quotes, facts and other information that can be tested/substantiated. In otherwords, this type of writing relies heavily on technical/scientific writing.