What is rhetoric

What is rhetoric?


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What is rhetoric?

Anyone who has to give speeches in public cannot do without it: rhetoric is a scientific discipline that emerged in antiquity, which deals with human eloquence in theory and practice.

In ancient Rome, children learned the basics of rhetoric in school. Anyone who later wanted to become a politician or lawyer had to master the art of speech, which in ancient times was the basis for many other sciences.

The systematics of rhetoric was already developed in its essential features by Aristotle, Cicero and Quintillian. The forefathers of the art of speaking assumed that man's ability to speak as a natural disposition can be perfected through art and knowledge as well as through practice.

The linguistic and body language expression of the rhetoricians are examined primarily with regard to their effect on the addressee. The focus is on the following questions: Who is speaking? To whom? About what? In what way? With what means?

The question of the means can also be formulated as a question of the linguistic style. Aristotle, Cicero & Co. described four style qualities: correctness, clarity, appropriateness and "jewelry". In times of Greco-Roman eloquence, jewelry enjoyed particular attention and care. It is by no means a linguistic luxury item of antiquity, but a repertoire of stylistic devices with which the speakers (or writers) can better achieve their goals. At the same time, with their help, they demonstrate education, dexterity and creativity. Who wouldn't want that today too?

You can find more such explanations at Duden Sprachberatung.

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