I like to think of myself as pretty well versed in a range of our language, including how it relates to grammatical terminology. Thanks to the September edition of Toastmaster magazine, that belief system is heretofore, thanks indeed to a brief but cogent article identifying little-used terms representing selective message repetition.
Two words are introduced, neither of which per se have been familiar, I suspect, to many of us, although the underlying applications as rhetorical devices have been observed over time.
- ANAPHORA: refers to repeating a word or phrase at or near the beginning of succeeding clauses or sentences; for example, in Winston Churchill’s famous declaration, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields”, or in Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream…” speech
- EPIPHORA: refers to repeating a word or phrase at the end of succeeding clauses or sentences; for example, “You may be from western Canada, or be from central Canada, or be from eastern Canada, but you all are from Canada”
It is suggested that the best context in which to use one or both of these modes is to:
- Confine application to one’s primary point, and limit the number of repetitions
- Use an active ‘voice’, massaged with vivid, compelling expressions
- Be sure, when speaking, to use pauses and inflections for emphasis
BTW, there is a term for when anaphora and epiphora are used together – SYMPLOCE. One should pat oneself on the back if able to do it well and effectively. How hard could it be?
After all, there is a plethora of precedence for answering the bell, answering the summons, or answering the alarm which newly engaged opportunity proffers.
It may not be that cleverness is always on point, or that substantive meaning is regularly on point, or even that tangential meaning surrounds the point, but at the core of it all is an identifiable point.
What should be targeted is a message with meaning, what should be targeted is a belief in that meaning, what should be targeted is personal connection with that meaning. If that is accomplished, one can take pride in enhancing the aura of understanding of the audience; for, while it may be a green audience, it may be a seasoned audience, it may be a loosely associated audience, or it may be a powerfully well-heeled audience, it should be always a ready-to-learn audience.
Impress them with enthusiasm, impress them with sincerity, impress them with passion, but know that to influence one must impress them.