ERIC Number: ED214178
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Toward a Rhetorical Theory of Style.
A theory of style called the doctrine of synonymity argues that the separation of form from content allows the possibility of alternative phrasing. This theory led to the conception that during the writing process, writers consider different ways of phrasing and settle on the formulation that best expresses the meaning intended. However, the ranking of "best" suggests that synonymity does not adequately explain the relations between intention and expression. If two sentences can be reasonably paraphrased, then the doctrine of synonymity seems tenable. For the purpose of teaching style, however, the theory of rhetorical dualism is of limited use, since the doctrine of synonymity provides no guidance for making the best choice among alternative modes of expression. Nevertheless, the concept of style as choice offers a beginning for developing a theory of style that is both rhetorical and process-centered. If style is seen as the adaptation of form to rhetorical aim, it acknowledges the relationship between meaning structure and aim, suggests that form and meaning ultimately coincide, and allows for the acquisition of linguistic forms as preliminary to their use in a rhetorical setting. The transition from style analysis to style production follows the logic of a process-centered model, which not only allows stages in the acquistion of stylistic competence, but proposes that the proper object of style study in composition teaching is ultimately the student's own work. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Rhetorical Theory; Synonyms; Text Structure
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (33rd, San Francisco, CA, March 18-20, 1982).