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Patterns of Communication in Demosthenic Symbouleutic Speeches

Liao, T-I; (2017) Patterns of Communication in Demosthenic Symbouleutic Speeches. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Advances in general linguistics, central to which has been the address to language as a means of communicating knowledge and intentions, rather than from a purely formal syntactic or semantic angle, have meant that many literary scholars (particularly in the field of rhetoric) today share a set of common assumptions and interests with linguists, opening up rich possibilities for cross-disciplinary studies. My thesis emerges from the recognition that classical Athenian symbouleutic speeches, like other uses of language, aim at successful communication (or, persuasion), and that this function can be observed through its linguistic patterns. Though the communicative function of oratory was understood by ancient rhetoricians, they (and modern scholar under their influence) tend to see the components of classical political speeches in a rather simplified and rigid manner, which does reflect the complexity of the speeches as a product of sophisticated socio-political communication. My thesis aims, firstly, to redirect the discussion about communication in classical symbouleutic oratory, using the perspective of systemic functional grammars, and secondly, to reflect on the gap between traditional rhetorical theories and the textual evidence from surviving speeches. Starting from a detailed analysis of existing examples of the genre, my thesis postulates a 'functional structure' for classical symbouleutic speeches and describes the communicative purposes and semantic attributes of each of the components. I then utilise the data I have accumulated during the detailed annotation process, and analyse the formal patterns of the speeches with regard to two aspects of communication— alignment (focusing on stance-taking and characterisation: personal references, illocution, affect) and evidentiality (focusing on modes of generating external authority: impersonal expressions, actualisation, reported speech). I attempt to approach the multi-layered functioning of communication in the Athenian assembly by examining how various linguistic patterns co-occur and interact with each other in speech sections that have similar purposes.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Patterns of Communication in Demosthenic Symbouleutic Speeches
Event: UCL
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1540975
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