Monthly Archives: May 2017

Period

Period: The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English. [This figure may also engender surprise or suspense–consequences of what Kenneth Burke views as ‘appeals’ of information.]

I was looking and looking, seeing, hoping, and praying for a way out of this place.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text inserted by Gorgias.

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Periphrasis

Periphrasis (per-if’-ra-sis): The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it. (Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.)

Here comes Big Mac doing the Big Trump walk and talking incoherent talk–very cheesy.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Personification

Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia (pro-so-po-pe’-i-a) or ethopoeia (e-tho-po’-ia): the description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.).

The strong wind blowing through the trees and the dark clouds spoke of an upcoming storm. They were saying: “There’s a thunder and lightning storm coming, better take shelter.”

I listened and understood, and went inside to await the impending storm. The strong wind and dark clouds never lie!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Polyptoton

Polyptoton (po-lyp-to’-ton): Repeating a word, but in a different form. Using a cognate of a given word in close proximity.

I dislike to dislike what I like to dislike. Why? Because disliking what I dislike is likely to make me aware of just how much I dislike. It puts an emphasis on the negative and raises the awkward question as to whether I like having so much to dislike. I dislike that, but I am liking the fact that I dislike it.

But, I am confused. As much as I dislike asking, I would like it if somebody out there is likely to know how to get out of this conundrum?

Anybody out there? Can anybody help me with liking what I am disliking?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Polysyndeton

Polysyndeton (pol-y-syn’-de-ton): Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm. (Asyndeton is the opposite of polysyndeton: an absence of conjunctions.)

I woke up and rolled around, and then got out of bed, and then went into the kitchen, and brewed some coffee, and drank a cup, and started to become REALLY awake, and then I sliced a piece of coffee cake and stuffed it in my face, and I settled in to watch my favorite cartoon shows!

Sunday morning. Sleeping until noon and relaxing all day long in my bathrobe, and watching junk TV. What could be better? Monday morning? Ha! Ha! Never in a million years!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Procatalepsis

Procatalepsis (pro-cat-a-lep’-sis): Refuting anticipated objections.

We have all the resources we need to move forward with the project. Most importantly, we have a cadre of experienced supervisors and laborers ready to go. We have the funding as well.

This plan has been well-considered and anticipates key objections (as above). Just let me know if you need further elaboration on the funding or the workforce & I’ll supply it. The project itself will be a success by filling a void in the current real estate market, and that’s a fact! Read the proposal and promotional materials–they will settle any lingering anxieties one may have a bout moving ahead.

In short, we are poised to begin a lucrative project. Let’s get going! Now!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Proecthesis

Proecthesis (pro-ek’-the-sis): When, in conclusion, a justifying reason is provided.

Clearly, some level of leaking is permissible. It gives us information where we need to make the decisions we need to make. Along with everything else, within certain limitations, leaking is a good thing in Western liberal democracies.

In sum, we need clarity. We need transparency. We need all the information we can get so that we can be an informed electorate. Leaks serve that interest. Don’t plug the leaks! Set up parameters & let the information flow.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Prolepsis

Prolepsis (pro-lep’-sis):  (1) A synonym for procatalepsis [refuting anticipated objections];  (2) speaking of something future as though already done or existing. A figure of anticipation.

1. We have the money!  We have the desire. We have the power. What’s holding us at bay? Nothing! Let’s do it.

2. The wall is a beautiful thing. I tell you, it keeps out illegal immigrants. It helps make America great again. It symbolizes our resolve. So, let’s set a budget and build it!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

We sit here on this beautiful spring morning. We hear birds. We see blue skies. We feel the gentle breeze on our faces, and we think of our loved ones whose innocence was perfect, whose hope was true, who, like us, took it for granted that tomorrow would come.

I’m am sorry to say, and we all know, that their tomorrow did not come. Instead, in a moment, they were taken from us . . .

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Protrope

Protrope (pro-tro’-pe): A call to action, often by using threats or promises.

We’re all hungry and want something to eat! I say we have burgers!

If you don’t agree, I won’t pay for dinner.

So, off we go to McDonalds!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Proverb

Proverb: One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmgnomemaximparoemia, and sententia.

“Little ants can make a big problem.” Eddie Picknick, On a Blanket with Vermin.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Prozeugma

Prozeugma (pro-zoog’-ma): A series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is elided (and thus implied) in the others.

I tried the gourmet beer. High end suds. Pint of heaven. Perfection in a glass.

I love this stuff!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Pysma

Pysma (pys’-ma): The asking of multiple questions successively (which would together require a complex reply). A rhetorical use of the question.

Until I get the GPS up and running again,  let’s just say we’re slightly lost in the woods.

Calm down fellow hikers! We’ll be ok. What kind of amateur trailblazer do you think I am? Do you really think I don’t know what I’m doing? Do you think I purposely got us lost?

Ha!

There, I’ve changed the GPS’s batteries and we’re good to go. Off to Diamond Lake! Step lively, intrepid hikers!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Ratiocinatio

Ratiocinatio (ra’-ti-o-cin-a’-ti-o): Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. Sometimes equivalent to anthypophora. More specifically, ratiocinatio can mean making statements, then asking the reason (ratio) for such an affirmation, then answering oneself. In this latter sense ratiocinatio is closely related to aetiologia. [As a questioning strategy, it is also related to erotima {the general term for a rhetorical question}.]

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

What exactly was Kennedy getting at when he uttered this famous and memorable phrase?

I think he was interested in instilling a desire for national service and a patriotic willingness to put the USA before one’s self.

This is well and good up to a point, but people need a balance of self-interest and patriotism–the individual and the group–autonomy and connectedness. In many respects putting your country before yourself, stultifies the need for individualism and autonomy.

So, I believe the quote should be rephrased: “Ask what your country can do for you and what you can do for your country.” The both/and approach satisfies and balances two conflicted needs and opens a prospect for greater satisfaction.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Repotia

Repotia (re-po’-ti-a): 1. The repetition of a phrase with slight differences in style, diction, tone, etc. 2. A discourse celebrating a wedding feast.

1. I need a steak. Feed me meat! I want to consume some tender cow! Moooove it on the meat front! The redder the better!

2. There’s a time for everything as we move through life! You’ve decided this is your time to be married, and you are. After 12 years of dating, you should have a pretty good idea of each other’s positive and negative qualities.

Clearly, the positive outweighs the negative, or we wouldn’t be here today celebrating your marriage!

So, let’s toast to a well-considered decision that is bound to lead to happiness. Eyes wide open, here’s to you–Charles and Wilma.

We wish you a prosperous, joy-filled future!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Restrictio

Restrictio (re-strik’-ti-o): Making an exception to a previously made statement. Restricting or limiting what has already been said.

I think it’s time for Putin to confess. Well not quite confess, but at least wipe the ‘na-naa-na-naa-naa’ smirk off of his face!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Sarcasmus

Sarcasmus (sar’kaz’-mus): Use of mockery, verbal taunts, or bitter irony.

I think that’s a lovely hairdo. I like the long swirling blond wings. A truly cosmic comb-over. You must have a gifted sculptor doing your hair! I envy its complexity and the message it sends: Vanity rocks!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Scesis Onomaton

Scesis Onomaton (ske’-sis-o-no’-ma-ton): 1. A sentence constructed only of nouns and adjectives (typically in a regular pattern).  2. A series of successive, synonymous expressions.

1. Russians. Elections. Trump. That’s all you need to know.

2. They went to the rally. They stood in the crowd. They included themselves in the audience. They applauded. They cheered. They went home with signed hats.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Sententia

Sententia (sen-ten’-ti-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegemgnomemaximparoemia, and proverb.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” As crazy as it may seem, this was one of our wedding vows!

It has come in handy in our marriage many times–too many times. It was tough being married to Rubin. That’s why we finally got a divorce after 5 years of ‘getting going’. I was just not tough enough. So, I guess the saying that captures the choice I made would be: “When the going gets tough too many times, it’s time to get going to a good divorce lawyer.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Simile

Simile (si’-mi-lee): An explicit comparison, often (but not necessarily) employing “like” or “as.”

Your breath smells like the River Styx.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Skotison

Skotison (sko’-ti-son): Purposeful obscurity.

There is no time like the present (if you know what I mean). There’s a lot brewing that will soon come to a boil, or even boil over.

What are we waiting for? Permission from the naked Emperor?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Syllepsis

Syllepsis (sil-lep’-sis): When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect. Not to be confused with zeugma: [a general term describing when one part of speech {most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun} governs two or more other parts of a sentence {often in a series}].

You anointed yourself, your wife, and your press secretary. To what we are not sure, but from where I’m sitting it looks like the Three Stooges, with you taking on the persona and appearance of Curly?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Symploce

Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.

There are wild decisions being made in the White House.

There are ill-considered pronouncements coming from the White House.

There are lies coming from the White House.

There are massive problems coming from the White House.

Where will it end?

When will it end?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Synaloepha

Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.

Science says stay on track: Facts say it all. Being a doubter is admirable sometimes, but when it may cost the future to/our planet due to global warming, stick to the facts. Believe the facts! That’s what facts are for!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Synathroesmus

Synathroesmus (sin-ath-res’-mus): 1. The conglomeration of many words and expressions either with similar meaning (= synonymia) or not (= congeries).  2. A gathering together of things scattered throughout a speech (= accumulatio [:Bringing together various points made throughout a speech and presenting them again in a forceful, climactic way. A blend of summary and climax.])

Where is my health, my heart, my winsome smile? I do not know. I do not see. I do not agree. As you can see, I am not easy to get along with, just like my health and my heart don’t get along with me. My winsome smile is a thing of the past. It’s over. It’s no more. It’s gone.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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