How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Jaques Durand analyzed thousands of adverts to understand the use of rhetorical figures in visual contexts. The principles he identified are also applicable in other situations.
Durand defined rhetoric as 'the art of fake speech', in which rhetoric is used to transition from 'proper' and figurative language. He takes a Freudian viewpoint seeing the use figurative language in satisfying forbidden desires, and rhetorical figures as mock violations of a norm.
He divides rhetorical figures into two classifications, similar to Barthes' approach: Those which modify the operation of a sentence or phrase and those which modify relationships, and the related substitution and exchange.
Operations start with a simple proposition and modify certain elements by the use of addition or suppression.
Items are added to a the phrase in order to change the overall meaning. For example adjectives and adverbs modify nouns and verbs, for example by exaggeration. Other additions include contrasts that highlight target items.
Repetition is a particular form of addition, where the item added is the same (in some form) as something already there.
Suppression is an opposite of addition in that involves the suppression, exclusion or other removal or hiding of elements of the phrase or sentence.
Substitution is a combination of the above two principles, being the suppression of one element followed by the addition of a new element.
Exchange consists of two reciprocal phrases, as in 'We eat to live, not live to eat'. These may also include substitution.
The relationship or connection of items within the phrase may be figuratively constructed using one or more of:
Combining relationships and rhetorical operations as above, these can be linked to specific figures as below:
Durand, J. (1970). Rhetorique et image publicitaire, Communications, 15, Paris: Editions du Seuil
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