In this assignment, you will look at the way a specific rhetorical situation (an LDS General Conference) might shape grammatical and syntactic decisions made by a writer (or speaker, in this case). During the General Conference held during this semester, you will pay attention to a speaker and attend to his/her grammatical choices, or note a pattern in these choices that you see across a group of speakers. In your analysis, you will clearly identify the choice(s) and explain its significance within this context, using specific citations from the text delivered by the speaker(s).
Length & Format
This analysis will take the form of an informal essay, and should be around 500 words in length.
Consider first the rhetorical situation in which this writing takes place (think about audience, role of the speaker, purpose of the speech/writing, etc.). We’ll discuss this in class a bit, but part of the goal for this assignment is to use that situation as a way of explaining why the speaker(s) you analyze the choices made in the talk.
You should attend as you listen to conference to the words chosen, phrasing used, or any noticeable grammatical or syntactical choice made by one or more speakers. Using a written version of the talk will likely be most helpful, though, when writing this analysis. (The written text of talks usually are available three days after the talk is given.)
You can choose to focus on a single speaker and two or three choices made by that speaker, or you might focus on a single choice made by two or more speakers. For instance, in the past I’ve noted that President Monson uses the passive voice when he’s talking about the effects of an experience detailed in a story he’s told, or President Eyring will use second person pronouns (“you”) to directly address his audience for an intended purpose. In your written piece, connect the choice(s) you’ve identified to the rhetorical situation and talk primarily about how those choices might achieve an intended effect in the given rhetorical situation.
This piece will be graded holistically and I will look at these elements:
- Have you correctly identified the rhetorical situation of a General Conference talk?
- How appropriate are the grammatical and/or syntactical choices to analyze from the talk?
- How effective are the connections between those choices and the rhetorical situation?