Cognitive rhetoric of effect: energy flow as a means of persuasion in inaugurals

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Abstract

Cognitive rhetoric of effect deals with creating a referent’s favourable image throughout four text-forming stages: invention (looking for arguments); disposition (argument arrangement); elocution (verbal ornamentation); and performance, combining the ancient canons of memory and delivery. The cognitive procedures of rhetoric of effect rest on conceptual structures of sensory-motor origin: image schemas, i.e. recurring dynamic patterns of our perceptual interactions and motor programmes (Johnson, 1987, p.xiv), and force dynamics, i.e. a semantic category in the realm of physical force generalized into domains of internal psychological relationships and social interactions (Talmy, 2000, p.409). The embedding of sensory-motor structures into the text-forming stages reveals that cognitive rhetorical effects are created by managing the energy flow, which consists of force and motion transformations denoted by particular linguistic units. The phenomenon is exemplified by the analysis of the way impressions of freedom celebration and freedom defence are formed in the inaugurals of J.F. Kennedy (1961) and G.W. Bush (2005) respectively.

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