Persuasion or the integration of grammar and rhetoric

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The term persuasion attracts the interest of both linguists and rhetoricians. Traditionally grammar and rhetoric have been conceived of as separate disciplines. The paper starts by clarifying the concept of persuasion and defines it as the attempt to exert influence on the interlocutor in a way which is favourable to the speaker. Human beings want to be accepted; they are by their very nature persuasive beings. Then the question is posed how such a kind of meaning is expressed in the dialogic action game. Authentic examples are analysed which demonstrate that there are multiple communicative means which are used to influence the interlocutor in the interest of the speaker. They range from the power of words to cognitive means based on emotions. Persuasion is revealed as a variable of performance which requires a holistic model of dialogic interaction or the integration of grammar and rhetoric in order to be adequately described. The Mixed Game Model is introduced as such a model which is capable of describing human beings’ competence-in-performance as persuasive beings.


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