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Prof. Dr. Fee-Alexandra Haase: "Style and Styles"


Rhetorical style forms were collected in manuals since antiquity. The terms documented in these works are in the 18th century used to find also for European national languages stylistics in scholarly writings. Up to this time the Latin schools and the teachers of Greek had been occupied with rhetoric. Philology as place of rhetoric has its tradition in the assumption of rhetoric in completely different disciplines such as poetics, philosophy, aesthetics and theology in the 18th century. The decrease of ancient philological traditions and the transition of the teachings to subranges of other sciences, which were fixed in the national language, started in the 18th century. The adjustment of rhetoric on rational conviction became a fundamental idea in the 18th century. With the documentation of termini technici in textbooks for schools and universities a system of rhetoric in German high-level language was established. Johann Christoph Gottscheds detailed art of speech and his writings about language art are an example of the use of a national language for the establishment of rhetoric in the 18th century in Germany. Gottsched definies in the year 1758 in the in Straßburg publicised Beobachtungen über den Gebrauch und Mißbrauch vieler deutscher Wörter und Redensarten the terms edekunst eredt eredsamkeit and ohlredenheit and discusses the topic of the difference between ars oratoria and eloquentia:

For Gottsched oratory is the main term of rules for learning good speaking. Someone who understands the art of speech, can also teach it others, but maybe is not capable to compose a mediocre speech or hold a speech: just like Aristotle demonstrated with his examples. These are just teachers of oratory or artists of oratory. Eloquent is called the one, who not only understands the rules of the art, but can apply them and has a skill for it. These are called orators, although they cannot and want not to teach anybody these rules. The first person"s Latin name was "rhetor", for the second person it was "orator". Eloquence is the ability to talk and to convince someone with one"s opinion and to let them do what they are expected to do. In that concern Fleischier, Saurin and Mosheim were eloquent men. Eloquence finally is a skill to talk and write in a comfortably manner, although one has no intention to persuade someone. A lot of people are eloquent in letters, Talks and stories, but they cannot be classified as an orator. They have a comfortably way of writing and a fluent tongue. They talk and write encouraged and brave without persuading their listeners or readers or convincing them. But one enjoys listening to them and reads their writings with pleasure. These are homines diserti, scriptores venusti, but no oratores

 

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