Rhetoric and grammar (English, Mandarin Chinese)
Bruff, Gary W.
Tyler, Stephen A.
Master of Arts
Grammar can be described from a positioned rather than a universal perspective. My main point in this thesis is absolutely synthetic: the rhetorical calibrations of trope and figure unify the communication of speaker and hearer in the same way that two languages can be understood to vary. In dialogue, subtle expressions are developed (energeia) which impact on the referential and non-referential systems of a language (ergon). However, as these innovations lose their efficacy, they sediment into a grammaticalized system which appears, through translation--i.e., from an "overly-literal" glossing into English, no doubt--to be a creative and artistic product rather than an epiphenomenon of a structural template. My contention is that this appearance, stemming as it does from an aesthetic stance, is at least as real as any formal unity holding among all languages simultaneously. Finally, I gloss Mandarin in English to demonstrate how languages can be compared bi-laterally.
Language; Rhetoric; Composition; Cultural anthropology; Linguistics