Use of persuasive language

One of the suggested topics for Part 2 of the Language A: Language and Literature guide is the 'use of persuasive language'. Persuasive language runs through mass media, from advertisements to political speeches. As we study various advertising techniques, rhetorical devices and forms of propaganda you will become more aware of educational, political and ideological influence of the media.

Lessons on persuasive language also refer to the use of images in advertising. For example, one lesson focuses on the portrayal of sex in advertising. Deconstructing such ads is one step in becoming more media literate.

Guiding questions

  1. How is language used in the mass media to persuade people of a certain ideological position?

  2. Where do we see evidence of persuasive language in the media?

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Comments 3

María Lourdes Padilla Othick 8 November 2017 - 13:33

Hi, question on Written Task 1 on the use of persuasive language: may the students apply techniques of persuasive language (appeal, rhetorical devices, propaganda techniques, etc.) while writing about a non-language topic, or must the subject of the task be persuasive language as well?

Kimberly Kim 4 May 2018 - 19:22

Hi Maria,
I had the same question. I'm not sure if:
1. Students have to choose a text (speech, advert, etc.) then rewrite it in another creative form (letter, blog, etc.) while using persuasive techniques OR if they're supposed to
2. Not refer to a specific text and just write a persuasive ad, speech, etc. that uses the techniques in texts we studied.

Anyone know the answer?

Tim Pruzinsky 5 May 2018 - 11:10

Hi Kimberly and Maria,

First, apologies to you Maria. I am quite surprised we didn't see and then respond to your question. If that happens, please don't hesitate to post again and ask the same question. I don't know why we didn't see it and respond.

As for the question, I'm not sure I fully understand it, but I will give it a go. For WT1, students often ground their writing in a text or language topic - and most likely it will be both. When students are writing only about a language topic - in this case, the use persuasive language - the WTs will often fall flat. This is because there isn't any meat to what they are doing.

In other words, you can study persuasive language, but for the WT to be successful, the shouldn't write a speech about football, or soccer for us Americans (since they theoretically studied the rhetorical techniques in speeches). Football on its own has nothing to do with the course.

This is one of those language topics that becomes circular if you're not careful. They are writing about persuasive language using persuasive language and writing a rationale about how they did so. It doesn't really work. Instead, the student will want to use the persuasive language and techniques they have learned and apply it to another topic in Part 2 of the course. And in writing that WT, they will often use a text - maybe a text about textual bias in the news - with which to use examples and evidence to support their writing.

I do hope that clarifies things a bit, but please do ask if you have further questions about this.


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