Rhetorical Devices: Accismus

Accismus (pronounced ak-SIZ-muhs) is the rhetorical refusal of something one actually wants, to try and convince themselves or others of a different opinion. It is  showing no interest in something while secretly wanting it. It’s a form of irony where one pretends indifference and refuses something while actually wanting it

An example from Aesop’s Fables:

Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’ People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.

Rhetorical Devices: Antanagoge

While I enjoy the challenge and fun of speechwriting, I’ve no formal understanding of the rhetorical devices to persuade or inspire. I’m set out to correct that in 2021: learn a few rhetorical devices, and more importantly, weave them into my language.

John Rimmer has a series on rhetoric he began on his website, which I’m going to lean on & start my learning from.

Antanagoge (pronounced an-tana-goji) is the first cab off the ranks, which in plain English means to turn a negative into positive (or vice versa?).

An example is the proverb, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Another: “My car is old and ugly, but it is reliable and runs great.”

While remembering the names of rhetorical devices is hard work, it will make my life easier when I’m working with other speechwriters.

Am I doing this right?

How to Speak So People Want To Listen – Julian Treasure

We don’t often think of our vocal cords. We admire the voices of our favourite singers, occasionally are blown away by the depth of someone’s voice (here’s one that shook me to the core – Shane Morris reading Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata) but very rarely do we think of our own voices in the same way.

Julian Treasure shows how some simple exercises can change the way you speak. His TED talk, titled “How to Speak So That People Will Want to Listen”, is one video I have shared very often for anyone wanting to improve their public speaking/ presentation skills.