Using English Language To Persuade Essay

1533 words - 7 pages

What linguistic features are typically employed when the English language is used to persuade? In what ways do these features vary according to context? Illustrate your answer by reference to specific examples.

This essay will be looking at the linguistic features utilised when using the English Language to persuade. To illustrate my argument I will be examining a political speech, a government safety campaign and adverts for beauty products. These are all sources that I believe are employing persuasive methods and I will be considering features such as the use of pronouns, repetition, metaphor and euphemisms. I will also examine the context of the text and consider the writer and the ...view middle of the document...

One would imagine in this instance that the ‘you’ he is proud of is the people of Britain. The use of the personal pronoun “I’m” could serve to demonstrate his perceived personal relationship with the audience, as well highlight his position of responsibility.

Cameron makes many references to Britain as a nation in his speech. He refers to positive national characteristics which aim to ingratiate him to the voters. He talks about “The real us. Hard-working, pioneering, independent, creative, adaptable, optimistic, can-do. That's the spirit that has made this United Kingdom what it is”. His use of the pronoun ‘us’ shows that he considers himself to have all those attributes as well and is therefore one of “the people of Britain, and the spirit of Britain” he refers. Beard states that “politicians try to identify with what they perceive as positive characteristics which their electorate believe to be typical of themselves and their nation.” (2007, p55)

According to Beard “repetition by lists is popular with politicians when they address live audiences because they send out signals about how the audience should respond” (2007, p56). There is a lot of repetition and use of lists in Cameron’s speech. He uses two lists in just one paragraph when he says “ Clear instructions. Clear objectives. And from me: a clear understanding that in these difficult times, it is leadership we need. To get our economy moving. To get our society working, and in a year - the Olympics year - when the world will be watching us, to show everyone what Great Britain really means.” Further examples of the inclusive use of the pronoun ‘our’ can also be seen in this paragraph as well as another positive reference to ‘Great Britain’.

Another device used in political rhetoric is metaphor. Cameron alludes to the Conservative Party’s stability and strength when he uses building metaphors and claims that they are “laying the foundations for a better future” and “it will be us, the Conservatives, who finally build an economy that works for everyone and gives hope to everyone in our country.” He also uses a sailing metaphor when he states that “we can turn this ship around” suggesting that the previous government were going in the wrong direction and the Conservatives will go the right way. Both of these metaphors are also examples of contrast, a way in which a politician can “accentuate the value of their own party’s approach by comparing it to that of their opponents” (Beard, 2007, p56).

Advertising also uses persuasive language and attempts to “persuade by acting upon the reader’s emotions” (Beard, 2007, p62). There was a recent government campaign for road safety and speed awareness that really played on the reader’s emotions. There was a series of TV adverts and printed media which showed the emotional consequences of killing a child while speeding.

The TV adverts and accompanying printed media are multimodal, that is a “text with both words and images” (Beard,...

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