Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 6(5), pp. 211 - 218
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060503
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Rhetorical Figures: The Argumentative "Ornament"

Ying Yuan 1,*, Yan Jiang 2
1 School of Foreign Languages, Soochow University, China
2 SOAS University of London, UK


This essay attempts to demonstrate, via surveying 10 classics in the history of rhetoric, that "ornament" collocated with rhetorical figures is widely viewed as inventional or argumentative, especially from ancient Greece to the Renaissance. Further, 5 representative dictionaries illustrate that this term gives priority to useful function in and before the medieval time but turns increasingly aesthetic from the Enlightenment downwards. In a historical-linguistic perspective, the semantic change of "ornament" is discovered to involve two tendency types: "Narrowing" and "Pejoration", which can be attributed to psychological or cognitive factors, cultural impact and language contact. This rectification of "ornament" justifies from etymology and history of rhetoric that rhetorical figures, deserving a fairer repute, are indeed our flashing argumentative equipment.

Ornament, Argumentative, Rhetorical Classics, Etymology, Historical Linguistics

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Ying Yuan , Yan Jiang , "Rhetorical Figures: The Argumentative "Ornament"," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 6, No. 5, pp. 211 - 218, 2018. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060503.

(b). APA Format:
Ying Yuan , Yan Jiang (2018). Rhetorical Figures: The Argumentative "Ornament". Linguistics and Literature Studies, 6(5), 211 - 218. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060503.