A blog about life, language, writing, and other trivia.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rhetoric Defined

The other day in my Intro to Composition Studies course for first-year Ph.D. students, I asked the class to work in pairs and develop definitions of rhetoric. I didn't think to get permission to share any of theirs (I haven't been thinking like a blogger lately), but I'll share mine. I realize now that this is the definition I've been working with for some time, but I've only now concretized it. And, of course, as I continue to read, write, talk, and listen, I'm sure it will evolve:

Rhetoric is the process or agglomeration of processes whereby language acts--whether through purposive deployment by a person or people, independently of human intention, or some combination--to give shape to human environments and understanding and meaning to human endeavors, as well as the study of such processes.
Pithy it's not. (I.A. Richards gets the nod in that category.) But it works well for what I want to say and do.

Have you got your own definition? If so, leave it in a comment. Or, better yet, blog it.

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