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How to use this Book—Pedagogical Background for Students and Teachers

15.7 Introductory/Pedagogical Vocabulary



Audience The intended consumers for a piece of rhetoric. Every text has at least one audience; sometimes, that audience is directly addressed, and other times we have to infer.
Iterative Literally, a repetition within a process. The writing process is iterative because it is non-linear and because an author often has to repeat, revisit, or re-approach different steps along the way.
Learning Community A network of learners and teachers, each equipped and empowered to provide support through horizontal power relations. Values diversity insofar as it encourages growth and perspective, but also inclusivity. Also, a community that learns by adapting to its unique needs and advantages.
Medium The channel, technology, or form through which rhetoric is constructed and communicated. Different rhetorical situations value different media, and different media value different kinds of rhetoric.
Mode The style and techniques employed by of a piece of rhetoric to achieve its purpose. Different rhetorical situations value different modes, and different modes value different kinds of rhetoric. Compare to genre.
Occasion The socio-historical circumstances that prompt the production of a piece of rhetoric, determined by personal experiences, current events, language, and culture. Every text has an occasion.
Process A complex and multifaceted sequence that results in a product. As applied in “writing process,” non-linear and iterative. Contrast with product.
Product The end result of a creative process. Often shows little evidence of the process that created it.
Purpose The intended result of a piece of rhetoric. Can be stated using an infinitive verb phrase (“to entertain,” “to persuade,” “to explain”). Every text has at least one purpose, sometimes declared explicitly, and other times implied or hidden.
Rhetoric A combination of textual strategies designed to do something to someone. In other words, ‘rhetoric’ refers to language, video, images, or other symbols (or some combination of these) that informs, entertains, persuades, compels, or otherwise impacts an
Rhetorical Situation The circumstances in which rhetoric is produced, understood using the constituent elements of subject, occasion, audience, and purpose. Each element of the rhetorical situation carries assumptions and imperatives about the kind of rhetoric that will be well received. Rhetorical situation will also influence mode and medium.
Subject The topic, focus, argument, or idea explored in a text
Text Any artifact through which a message is communicated. Can be written or spoken; digital, printed, or undocumented; video, image, or language. Every text is rhetorical in nature. See rhetoric.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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