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An Analysis of Rhetorical Devices, with the Focus on Schemes and Repetition, in the Two Speeches “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” and “Invasion of France” by Winston Churchill
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This investigation analyzes two speeches, namely “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” and “Invasion of France”, by Winston Churchill from a semantic point of view. The main focus is on the intra-linguistic components. The aim of this study is to find what kinds of rhetorical devices are used in both speeches, if the rhetorical devices are similar or different when comparing the two speeches, analyze what function the prominent figures of speech have in the speeches, and lastly what the general rhetorical effect of the devices chosen is. This was done by looking at the factually descriptive, the interpersonal, the affective, the poetic, and the textual function. Note that (language) function and (language) meaning are synonymous in this work. Another theoretical framework includes classical rhetoric.

In “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”, the following was discovered in the poetic meaning. The first characteristic was the use of coordinating two words that are from the same lexical field. The second is about building up a factual scenario in the sentences. The third aspect is about repetition, including parallelism. The last characteristic is the schematic phonological features found throughout the speech, with alliteration as the most noticeable feature.

In “Invasion of France”, quite similar rhetorical strategies were found. Within the poetic meaning, the use of coordinating two words from the same lexical field was used. The use of repetition, especially the use of verbatim, was also found. The most prominent trope found was the noticeable instances of metaphor.

Different kinds of rhetorical devices were found in the four other language functions and in classical rhetoric in both speeches. Mostly, they had similar functions and patterns. On the whole, the devices containing potential of rhetorical force used in the speeches make the speeches more coherent, reasonable, smooth, and ultimately more persuasive. All rhetorical aspects contribute in some way to making the speech more convincing, perhaps especially the parallelistic schematic repetitions, which was the main focus of this study.

Note: italicised words are used to highlight terminology or examples of Churchill’s speech throughout the essay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
speech, speaker, addressees, audience, rhetorical device, language function, language meaning, classical rhetoric
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87325OAI: diva2:602630
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-02-01 Last updated: 2013-11-07Bibliographically approved

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