´Transfer of information´ and ´ rhetorical figuration´ - Limits of speech communication.
Transcultural and cultural patterns of speech communication in theory and application in
ancient rhetoric theory and the pragmatic use of speech style in English prose and poetry.

© Fee-Alexandra Haase
see Pdf. version

- A rose is a rose is a rose -

This article focuses on the theme speech communication used as a medium for ´transfer of information´ and as the application of rhetorical elements in spoken words. In the most simplest way speech communication can be described as the process for the transmission of information by the use of speech from one human entity to another. As one of the central components of the western educational system, rhetoric is an influential branch of linguistic disciplines for the historical development of speech culture far into the 21 st century. We will look at the elements rhetoric as a system offers necessary for a speech communication process. We will also look at the conditions of stylistic forms in speech communication coming from rhetoric, grammar, linguistics and media studies. Research done so far faced more or less the ´classic´ relation between rhetoric as orally or written presented art and style within the rhetorical structure of a spoken or written text continuums. Our interest in this article is the relation between style as a qualitative category for the form of textual or verbal compositions and traditional systems of languages, in which stylistic phrases can be found. Most style concepts base upon the rhetorical system with a separation of three levels of speech style and put a stress upon the degrees and types of rhetorical elements used in the text and their reference to rhetorical schemata. The term ‘ rhetorical figuration ’ is used here on the one hand to describe the phenomenon, that rhetorical elements are structured in a certain form. This form principle is on the one hand visually seen by the fact that certain forms have their equivalent in geometry and symmetry, rhythm and canons or are even based upon a numeric order. The term flores rhetoricae for the elements of rhetoric has a history in the European rhetorical culture. We will exemplify this relationship and the limits of communication with a concrete example, the ‘rose’.

1. Speech style and ‘ rhetorical figuration ’ – A case study

What is style? Style is a term for the use of speech with the art of producing patterns of sentences and words that will make a favourable impression on a reader or listener. Elements of style include language as a means and linguistic operations on the level of syntax, semiotic and pragmatic structure, next to rhetorical elements like figures of speech and schemes. In opposition to informal articulations or just the simple transfer of informations in form of data we can consider speech as language used in formal artificial conceptions. Style is the formal surface appearance of any text that can be described in rhetorical terms for speech elements. So the style is on the one hand the formal appearance of any text. Here we come to the pragmatic dimension. On the other hand a style is a constructive element for the constitution of a text. Style makes a text easier or harder to understand and can even improve the quality of a text in a persuasive way. Speech style depends on the type of speech chosen. Types of speech are:

Personal speech quality Individual style

Social group speech quality Group style

Time/ époque speech quality Époque style

Extrinsic speech style classification

Any style in general is the way in which something is said . Next to this extrinsic speech style communication also a classification by the intrinsic qualities of speech exist. ´Plain style´ without any artificial elements seeks to speak in the voice of the audience. ´ Middle style´ seeks to speak to a wide audience mediating between the lower and the upper level. ´Grand style´ seeks to speak to the elite of a group, whether that group is the educated, the righteous, or the superio r using artificial elements . Style and information of contents in a speech stand in a relation to each other. The more style quality is involved in a speech entity, the less basic fact-informations are transmitted. E.g. the following sentence is a definition containing pure plain words and terminology:

A rose is a flowering shrub of the genus Rosa and the flower of this shrub.

The metaphoric use of the rose as a metaphor is only useful for successful communication, if communicators use the word with the same connotation or can identify the connotation. In Shakespeare´s King Henry VI (p art II ) such a common use of a metaphor is given. The speakers use the metaphor ‘Rose of England’ (a ct 1, s cene 1 ):

YORK Then, York, be still awhile, till time do serve:
Watch thou and wake when others be asleep,
To pry into the secrets of the state;
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,
With his new bride and England's dear-bought queen,
And Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars:
Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed;
And in my standard bear the arms of York
To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown,
Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.

Richard says that he ´cannot wait until the white rose has been dyed´ ( King Henry VI, p art II, a ct 1, scene 2 ):

Within whose circuit is Elysium
And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
Why do we finger thus? I cannot rest
Until the white rose that I wear be dyed
Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry's heart.

King Henry mentions the ´red and white rose´ ( King Henry VI, p art II, a ct 2, s cene 5 ) as symbols of the ‘striving houses’ of England’s monarchy:

Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
O pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!
The red rose and the white are on his face,
The fatal colours of our striving houses:
The one his purple blood right well resembles;
The other his pale cheeks, methinks, presenteth:
Wither one rose, and let the other flourish;
If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.

In Shakespeare’s play the speakers communicate with a common metaphor. In other words, pe rsonal speech quality of the i ndividual style of one speaker and s ocial group speech quality of the g roup style or the t ime and époque are the same and guarantee the speech quality of the dialogue. In Timon of Athens ( Timon of Athens , a ct 4, s cene 3 ) and Antony and Cleopatra ( Antony and Cleopatra , a ct 3, s cene 13 ) ‘the rose’ is connotated with femininity and youth:

TIMON Be a whore still: they love thee not that use thee;
Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust.
Make use of thy salt hours: season the slaves
For tubs and baths; bring down rose-cheeked youth
To the tub-fast and the diet.

To him again: tell him he wears the rose
Of youth upon him; from which the world should note
Something particular: his coin, ships, legions,
May be a coward's; whose ministers would prevail
Under the service of a child as soon
As i' the command of Caesar: I dare him therefore
To lay his gay comparisons apart,
And answer me declined, sword against sword,
Ourselves alone. I'll write it: follow me.

Written by the same author the metaphor ‘rose’ stands within two different concepts of the two plays cited here. When we look at these examples we see that the use of the word ‘rose’ depends on a surrounding that is able to understand the metaphor and a context in a homogeneous level of style. General criteria for such style concepts are:

  1. Homogeneous use of the style concept; e.g. the metaphor ‘rose’ in one of Shakespeare’s plays.
  2. The style is the form, in which the facts are presented. In Shakespeare’s play Henry IV the metaphor ‘Rose of England’ stands for the English kingdom.
  3. Reference to an established style conception is necessary. The established style conception is the rhetorical system.

Style concepts change depending on historical movements. In general, we can distinguish several main types of styles from each other:

  1. Personal styles
  2. Styles depending upon a time or époque
  3. Styles depending upon a region or local area
  4. Styles depending on literary methods / techniques

2. Definition of speech communication and its relevance for the information transfer.

‘Speech communication’ is an expression for communication by the use of speech. The mental faculty or power of vocal communication is called speech. Let’s continue with our example of the rose to see how it can become a theme of a communication process. The rose can be used as a subject for spoken communication: In ancient Greek time oratory was used for one person's mind affecting another person's mind via the spoken word. Since that time speech communication entailed both verbal and non-verbal communication such as gestures, facial expression as human symbolic behaviour in many forms. Speech is the act of delivering a formal spoken communication contents to an audience. Style is also language communication by words used in speech communication trough a spoken language of a voice in an oral process spoken in the exchange of spoken words in a characteristic manner of style.

The levels of language in terms of communication values:


Data in Form

Poetic Style Level

Example: Shakespeare’s ‘Rose of England’


Pure Data

Information Level

Example: Definition ‘Rose’



No up to less meaning Sound Level

Example: Imitation of the sound ‘rose’

3. The rhetoric tradition of speech: How to use ´the rose´ in speeches

This historic review gives us an overview of the elements of rhetoric and syntactic, semiotic and pragmatic speech. Classical rhetoric divides the process of persuasion into five canons: Invention as the search for persuasive ways to present information and formulate arguments . Arrangement as the organization of the parts of a presentation is the second canon the third canon . Style is for the use of a formed language . Memory , the fifth canon, is the canon for the use of mnemonics . Delivery is the presentation of the message with effective gestures and vocal modulation . Figures of speech used for the style are any deviation either in thought or expression from an ordinary and simple method of speaking or writing (thought figures and single word figures) . The figures of speech are typically categorized under the third of these canons of rhetoric.

The study of style began in ancient Greece with the introduction of democracy and the need for public speakers . In this democracy the citizens were required to speak for themselves in order to defend or accuse. T herefor e speaking and persuading was taught by logographs, later by sophists and rhetoricians . In order to produce an effective text the speaker/author incorporates the five canons of rhetoric in her/ his composition. These elements are already mentioned above as invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. The first canon, invention, is a process that helps the speaker to find his ideas. A rhetorical system is an organized body of knowledge about communication. It consists of theory, teaching, practice, and criticism. Three great rhetorical systems arose to meet the communication needs of the people living during certain historical periods. The classical system dominated the intellectual world from about 500 B.C. to 1400 A . D. T he modern system developed from 1400 to 1900 A.D.. The 18 th century demonstrates in Europe the moderate conditions of rhetoric as opposition to an action science giving a new, scientifically oriented truth. The contemporary system began about 1900 and is still developing today. Rhetoric is in general the art of expressive speech or of discourse especially of literary composition. Specifically cultivated by the Greeks it was the study of the principles and technical resources of oratory including both composition and delivery. In Western civilization learning and literary activity have experienced setbacks and revivals known as ´dark ages´ and ´renaissances´. It still holds an important place in education and popular culture in the U.S. from pre-revolutionary times through the turn of the 21 th century. Up to contemporary culture there is a certain continuity of rhetorical concepts and also it applied elements. The simplest and oldest arrangement for the figures divides them into two broad categories, ‘schemes’ and ’tropes’ useful starting points. The speaker arrives at the thesis statement, which is the point that the author argues in his paper. The speaker recognizes his audience so that he can find ways to establish ethos (credibility), pathos (appeal to the audience), and logos (building of the argument). T he rhetor has to use the elements of style in such a way that the audience will understand his/her main points in the speech. Elements of style include language and non-lingual media. Rhetorical elements such as rhetorical figures are tropes ( single word figures of speech), and schemes ( complex figures of expression). Public speaking is almost as ancient as speech itself. In the following chart the rhetorical parts of production are shown on the left side and the strategies and related questions on the right side:

Invention -- What do I want to say? -- E.g. a love song?
Arrangement -- How do I arrange the material? -- How to compose the material
Style -- How about the design? -- Use the rose as a metaphor
Memory -- How to remember the speech? -- Use of the rose as a topos
Delivery -- How to present the speech? -- Song in a video with roses


The ‘rose’ as a paradigm for parts of oratory – modern use

Composition or arrangement is the part of a speech construction, where the material is put in order for a following stylish form. Writing allows the author to interact with his audience on paper to inform or persuade them by appealing to their emotions. There are five types of composition, in which the material can be arranged:

Narrative composition
Expository composition
Persuasive composition
Comparative composition
Contrastive composition

The variations in style concepts – How a rose is not a rose is not a rose

In variations of rhetorical elements in style concepts we can change the meaning of the word ´rose´– that’s how a rose can become not a rose, but something else while the word is still used in the surface of the text. In the history of rhetoric the most conventional style concept is based upon three styles – low – medium and high style - is used for a speech first used by Theophrast. The low style uses less to no rhetorical elements (e.g. the description of the rose) the medium style uses rhetorical elements as well as plain text (we can consider Shakespeare’s plays as such a combination) and the high style puts it in a complex concept (e.g. the Poem of the Rose written by Alanus ab Insulis). Aristotle's writes in his R hetoric (book III, chapter 12):

It should be observed that each kind of rhetoric has its own appropriate style. The style of written prose is not that of spoken oratory, nor are those of political and forensic speaking the same. Both written and spoken have to be known. To know the latter is to know how to speak good Greek. To know the former means that you are not obliged, as otherwise you are, to hold your tongue when you wish to communicate something to the general public. The written style is the more finished: the spoken better admits of dramatic delivery - like the kind of oratory that reflects character and the kind that reflects emotion. Hence actors look out for plays written in the latter style, and poets for actors competent to act in such plays.

Aristotle wrote in his Rhetoric about the qualities of good style: Aristotle requires i n book III that a rhetor's style be both clear and appropriate. A rhetor must construct his sentences properly, grammatically correct and periodic. Words must be economically applied, avoiding excess use of adjectives, compound nouns, and metaphors. To be appropriate, a rhetor must choose his words. His diction must grasp the auditors' attention without appearing artificial. Elsewhere he adds propriety. But for Aristotle clarity seems the most important. Thomas J. Kinney writes on The Virtues of Style:

The virtues of style are a means for reflecting on stylistic choices. Generally speaking, there are four virtues of style: correctness (suitable grammar, mechanics, and spelling), clarity (precision in expression), decorum (appropriateness in expression), and ornament (stylistic variation, including figures of thought, figures of style, and tropes).

According to Quintilian style (oratio) has three kinds of excellence: correctness, clarity, and adornment. The Rhetorica ad Herrenium presents us another style concept separat ing style into three situations: the ´plain style´ for teaching, the ´middle style´ for pleasing, and the ´grand style´ for moving the audience. Style is concerned with the artful expression of ideas. A large descriptive terminology has been developed to critique the qualities of style. Figurative language involves the purposeful distortion of language, the use of non - literal constructions. H andbooks of rhetoric remain ed in fragmentary form with the exception of the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum and the pseudo-Ciceronian Rhetorica ad Herennium (ca. 90 B.C.).

Boethius writes that the sermo or furthermore the style (stilus) is a genre of writing (scribendi genus) ( Contra Eutychen et Nestiorum . 3, 92-93), that the speech (sermo) is an in imitation of the genre of writing (scribendi genus) . Cicero writes in De oratore (lib. 1. XXXII-XXXIV, 150) that the best and most excellent style of speaking is the efficient one and a teacher, but never injustice:

 Stilus optimus et praestantissimus dicendi effector ac magister; neque iniuria.

In the five canons of rhetoric style follows invention and arrangement and precedes memory and delivery. Style enables the rhetor to deliver to his audience thoughts and emotions. Style is the art of producing sentences and words that will make a favourable impression on readers or listeners. The terms ,rhetoric’ and ,stylistics’ are related to language and communication sciences. They also refer to the fundamental characteristics of language and language use: Language is always used in a certain style. The pragmatic-communicative dimension of rhetoric consists of its intentional and situative orientation. Since antiquity rhetoric is known as teachings in the effective formation of language.

The historical portions of the handbooks since ancient time relay on epoch-specific profiles and characteristics of rhetoric and stylistic theory and practice, which permanently changed since Greek antiquity. The reference to the history of western education indicates the historical description in the handbooks. In the Renaissance Dante writes in De vulgari eloquentia (liber II, caput IV, 1) De varietate stili eorum, qui poetice scribunt that a stilus superior for the tragedy and a stilus inferior for the comedy exist:

5. P er tragoediam superiorem stilum inducimus, per comoediam inferiorem, per elegiam stilum intelligimus miserorum. 6.si tragice canenda videntur, tunc assumendum est vulgare illustre, et per consequens cantionem <oportet> ligare. si vero comice, tunc quandoque mediocre quandoque humile vulgare sumatur; et huius discretionem in quarto huius reservamus ostendere. si autem elegiace, solum humile oportet nos sumere.

5. For tragedies we use the higher style, for the comedy the lower, for the elegy we apply the style of the ones in misery. 6. If it seems to be sung in a tragical way, than one must use popular and visual [… ] . But if it is a comical, than one uses a style between mediocrity and lowness.

Blasius writes in his Rhetoric that the genre of writing (scribendi genus) was invented in the letters and diplomatic literature of the emperors . It not only used the verba propria of administration, but also figures and numbers, so that as well words can be selected in the mist diligent way and figures can be chosen in the most accurate way:

 Qui sermo, vel potius stilus, imitatus est scribendi genus, quod in epistulis et diplomis imperatorum inveniretur, ex quibus hausit non solum administrationis verba propria, sed etiam ipsius orationis figuras et numeros, ut et verba diligentissime eligerentur et figurae accuratissime collocarentur.

Blasius writes in his Rhetoric about the style (stilus) as a discipline of dictions and forms in morphology, syntax and the thesaurus:

Stilus - vel graphium - ligneum significat instrumentum, ferreum vel alius materiae […]. Metonymice stilus exercitationem scribendi significat, ac denique ipsam scriptionis formam, genus dicendi et scribendi, elocutionis rationem. Stilus est quidem disciplina, sed non certis finibus circumscripta.

The stilus or graphium is a wooden, iron instrument or made out of another material. […] Me tonymical ly, style shows the exercise of writing, and so the form of the writing itself, the genre of speaking and writing and the method of speech performance. The style is a certain discipline, but not limited to certain limits.

Servius Grammaticus writes in his commentry Vergilii carmina commentarii Commentarius in Aeneida (liber I): “ It is also the heroic (heroicum) that contains divine and human persons both real and fictional; […] but it is the high style that is manifested in a sermon and great words . The style of the great words belongs to the heroic (heroicum). We know that there are t h ree styles for sure, the low, medium and high. The intention of Vergile is to imitate Homer and to praise Augustus because of his parents .” In Latin :

Est autem stilus grandiloquus, qui constat alto sermone magnisque sententiis. scimus enim tria esse genera dicendi, humile medium grandiloquum. intentio Vergilii haec est, Homerum imitari et Augustum laudare a parentibus;

Erasmus of Rotterdam mentions in Epistolarum formula an epistolic style (epistolicus stilus), that has to be simple : “ Examples are the letters of Plinius Cecilius being acute and elegantly expressed, in which nothing common of daily life can be found, but everything can be read in Latin and in a decorated style. Since this style is composed and worked out highly artificially and with talent and culture, it although seems to be made without any work and nearly suddenly and timeless .” In Latin :

Esse enim epistolicus stilus simplex debet […] Exemplo sunt Plinii Cecilii epistolae, acutae, elegantes expressae, in quibus nihil nisi domesticum, quotidianum, sed omnia tamen latina, casta, ornataque leguntur. Cumque sit stilus ille multa arte atque ingenio cultuque subactus atque elaboratus, illaboratus tamen ac paene subitus atque extemporarius videtur .

With this background we will now look how the rhetorical speech elements are used in a composition. The personification is a very effective contra point of rhetoric to the metaphor; the play of both we can see in the song Where The Wild Roses Grow performed by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, where the female singer represents the ‘rose’ and the male singer is the person acting with the ‘rose’. Speech is here a narrative speech from a male / female pattern perspective highly artificially organized:


They call me "The Wild Rose"
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day

 From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one
As she stared in my eyes and smiled
For her lips were the colour of the roses
They grew down the river, all bloody and wild

When he knocked on my door and entered the room
My trembling subsided in his sure embrace
He would be my first man, and with a careful hand
He wiped the tears that ran down my face

On the second day I brought her a flower
She was more beautiful than any woman I'd seen
I said, 'Do you know where the wild roses grow
So sweet and scarlet and free?'

On the second day he came with a single rose
Said: 'Will you give me your loss and your sorrow?'
I nodded my head, as I layed on the bed
He said, 'If I show you the roses will you follow?'

On the third day he took me to the river
He showed me the roses and we kissed
And the last thing I heard was a muttered word
As he stood smiling above me with a rock in his fist

On the last day I took her where the wild roses grow
And she lay on the bank, the wind light as a thief
As I kissed her goodbye, I said, 'All beauty must die'
And lent down and planted a rose between her teeth

Rhetorical figures are descriptions of semiotic meaning when used for the analysis of works. Traditionally there is a choice of three strategies of appeal, which can be adopted to persuade others: the ethical, the emotional, and the rational. Their operational functions are to delight, to move and to inform. To achieve this , speakers can use rhetorical figures. Rhetorical operations are procedures that can be performed on a given structure. Rhetorical figures are defined as an artful departure from the ordinary mode of speaking or writing. They can be divided into two categories: the syntactic (scheme) and the semantic (trope) figures. Rhetorical figures can be defined as a deviation, a conceptual or formal transgression produced in a statement . For rhetorical operations the existence of rules or norms of enunciation is necessary, from which rhetorical operations constitute creative alterations or contraventions. Rhetorical operations also appear in visual images, insofar as the observer possess incorporated rules or norms that can be transformed or broken to produce a message with a non-conventional meaning.

4. Linguistics and speech communication – The ´rose´ in grammatical context

The parts of speech follow the grammatical classification. Traditionally grammar classifies words based on the eight parts verb, noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection used for composing a speech. Each part of speech explains how a complex word is used systematically. This grammar concept is the basis of any style concept. Grammar is the basis for other linguistic fields. Style is important to the development of a person as an effective writer using the classified word in a certain artificial composition.

Linguistic fields asking for

Phonology Phonetics of the word ‘rose’
Morphology Origin and root of the word ‘rose’
Syntax Word compound of the word ‘rose’
Semantics Meaning of the word ‘rose’
Pragmatics Function of the word ‘rose’

Rhetorical figures are deviation s a nd conceptual or formal transgression s produced in a statement with the aim of bringing the receptor of the message to a meaning that is beyond the literal meaning. R hetorical figures are generally produced on the basis of symmetry rules. Rhetorical figures can be defined as a deviation, a conceptual or formal transgression produced in a statement with the aim of bringing the receptor of the message to a meaning that is beyond the literal meaning. For rhetorical operations to be perceived as such, it is necessary to demonstrate the existence of rules or norms. The four main categories are:

The following chart is a framework for classifying rhetorical figures . It distinguishes between figurative and non-figurative text, between two types of figures (schemes and tropes), and among four rhetorical operations that underlie individual figures (repetition, reversal, substitution, destabilization). Tropes as one type of rhetorical figures belong to the area transformation (transformation), since here one word is used for another linguistically non-existing meaning.

Classification of types of rhetorical elements (see Pdf file for graphics)

Immutatio Transformatio Adiectio Detractio


Categories of change as basis for rhetorical style

Language in general is the most important means of communication and speech its primary medium. Expressions in a poem like ‘bloody’ for the rose are used with an immutation for the death of a girl. Wind as a thief is the personification for the crime by transmutation. In an antithetic scheme of strophe and antistrophe this poem tells its story. So we have a complex, highly artificial communication schema. Speech communication is used as the basic concept of communication theory and its elements speech production, speech transmission and speech perception from a communicative point of view. We now look at the different genres of speech communication:

Dimensions of speech

1. Speech as speech act
Address ; speech
Sermon; discourse; preaching
Public speaking; oral presentation
Lecture; public lecture; talk

2. Speech as speech communication or spoken communication
Communicative expressions
Auditory communication
Saying; expression; locution

Forms of speech communications

On concepts of figurative language in style concepts

Figurative language uses both grammar and rhetoric. Grammar is the necessary structure of language by the use of sounds, words, syntax, and semantics. Figurative language involves the purposeful distortion of language . A rhetorical figure has traditionally been defined as an artful deviation. Modes of figuration correspond to the classical distinction between schemes and tropes. A figure in the schematic mode occurs when a text contains excessive order or regularity . A figure in the tropic mode occurs when a text contains a deficiency of order or irregularities. Figurative language involves the purposeful distortion of language and the use of non - literal constructions . We come back to our example of the rose. Figurative language is used by William Blake to describe how a person gets lovesick by a rose poisoned by a worm. In The Sick Rose, a poem by William Blake, the rose is used as the object of destruction in love.

The Sick Rose
William Blake

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Style concerns come along with the artful expression of ideas like in a poem . From a rhetorical perspective style names how ideas are embodied in language and customized to communicative contexts. The c lassical idea of style is analogu e to the modern meaning of the word. Style is the way , in which something is said or expressed as the combination of distinctive features of expression characterizing a particular person or group. These are the major groupings of stylistic concerns within the rhetorical tradition:

  • Virtues of style
  • Levels of style
  • Qualities of style
  • Figures of speech style

5. Speech communication and cultural conditions

We come back to our case, the rose. Obviously it works in different cultures slightly modified to the local needs. Let’s take finally a look at non-verbal communication. The rose is used as a symbol of love. In the traditional l anguage of f lowers, lovers sent multiple or single roses to each other with very specific meanings understood by all . A red rose signified passion but a withered red rose meant that love was over. According to the Greek legend red roses ar o se from blood of Adonis who was killed by a wild boar on a hunt. In Greek mythology a red rose was a symbol for the cycle of growth and decay, but also for love and affinity. Red rose is dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and daughter of Zeus , and to Roman goddess Venus. In Christianity the red rose is associated with the Cross and the bloodshed. In the Greco-Roman culture the rose represented beauty, the season of spring and love. It also spoke of the fleetness of time, and therefore inferred death and the next world. In Rome the feast called ‘R osalia ’ was a feast of the dead.

In Latin Christian iconography the first use of the rose appears in the scenes representing the next world, paradise, together with the lily and other flowers. These flowers also became symbols of virtues and of categories of the elect; for example the red rose was a symbol for martyrs. The rose as the queen of flowers was evidently a privileged symbol for Mary, Queen of heaven and earth. The rose is a symbol of Christ, too, as we see in the German Christmas song from a poem by Goethe with the title Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen. Christ is at the center of these rose windows, where he appears usually as judge or in the mystery of his Incarnation. In the latter example we see Mary presenting the Child Jesus. In this artistic creation the universal symbolism of the rose found one of its most exalted expressions. During the Middle Ages the theme of the rose garden developed from the symbolism of the rose in the literature of courtly love, using the rose as the symbol of the beloved lady. In his Feast of the Rosary (1506) Albrecht Du e rer represents Jesus and Mary handing out crowns of roses. The ‘ White Rose became a s ymbol of f reedom of s tudent r esistance in the Third Reich in Germany including a political meaning. Transcultur al rhetoric is not the melting together nor opposition of identities, but a way of using cultural symbols to transcend specific practices, beliefs, and ideologies in order to appreciate the difference of identit ies . In a multicultural society, individuals may become tolerant yet never speak to one another. This intercultural exposure over time opened up a space for sustained dialogue and engagement and eventually, a trust and communal sensibility among many members.

Genre - - Personality - - Time - - Place

Conditions of style concepts

T he Scottish poet Robert Burns ( 1759 – 1796 ) expressed his love as being like a ‘ red, red rose ’ . Burns wrote the poem My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose . The poem was written in the time of the époque of European Sensuality and expresses the emotion in a personal style where the rose is used as a symbol for love:

My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose

O, my luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June
O, my luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune
As fair art thou, my bonie lass
So deep in luve am I
And I will luve thee still, my Dear
Till a' the seas gang dry
Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
O I will luve thee still, my Dear
While the sands o' life shall run

With this poem we discuss the symbolic meanings of the rose. Although the rose has had many meanings throughout history, it is most often associated with love and romance. The rose as symbol leads back to the symbolic meaning of the rose in European culture: A single rose is one with four to seven petals standing for love . The discussed literature here presented – independently from the cultural background – uses this connotation.

Now let’s look how style of speech depends on the ´input´ qualities of language grammar, language terminology, style and genre. If these qualities are of low quantity, the speech is easily understood by a large group of receivers. In the case that these qualities are of high quantity, the access to understanding is low. For example the meaning of the Rose of England is only related to a nation and has to be learned by persons not directly knowing it. Styles of speeches influence the level of communication. In general, the more information shaded with others a message contains, the more effective the communication will be.


- Low + High

Quality of:
- Language grammar
- Language terminology / vocabulary
- Style
- Genre


Degree of understanding depending on language qualities

Here we come to the inversion rule saying that the lower the qualities are chosen, the more positive impact they will have for the general understanding of the message. On the other hand the message has to be composed in a more complex way, e.g. with a high volume of terms only known to a certain group that uses it.

6. Speech levels and types in speech communication

The level of a speech depends upon the style elements used. The higher the level of style is, the less concrete the information is . E.g. a metaphoric text is not related to a concrete fact or makes the fact appear in another light´, where ambiguous interpretations are necessary. A low level of stylish elements intends to make a text easy to understand, since the re is just one meaning, the text’s meaning itself. Other meanings derived from rhetorical elements do not make an interpretation necessary. From these two differs the great pathetic raised mode of expression, which draws all rhetorical registers. The elocution is of special importance, since its code finds language figures both in the rhetorical as well as in the aesthetic context use.

Speech types depending on participating entities are:

Multiple Speech

Speech types depending on participating media are:

Single speech
Medial speech
Multimedial speech

Figures of language such as the metaphor ‘rose’ are indicators of three classes of deviations of standard language . A specific form of the deviation characterizes each class. The syntactic class is characterized by the deviation from the everyday life language, the pragmatic class by the deviation from usual communication, the semantic class by deviation from the usual reference character of the language character. The three fundamental forms of sec o ndarity of the rhetorical language character are a language-internal, a communicative and referentially secondary one. Rhetorical figures and tropes are standardized deviations from the natural speech. Figures are to direct the attention to affect when listening to a statement. They also are used for an aesthetic need. Rhetorical figures overlay the plain text structure as a secondary structure. The plain text structure consists of the primary grammar. We can describe speech communication as the communication, which is based upon spoken language in an entity called ´speech´. The ancient rhetorical system knew three genera dicendi (speech genres or types).

Speech types can be described by the following qualities:

1. Information of speech
Information is an entity of data put together to be presented in a medium.
Information can be definied as grammatical connection of words that refer to facts.

2. Form of speech
Form is the presentation, in which the information is put in. Form consists of the outer form, in which a speech is presented and the inner form based upon rhetorical style elements.

3. Medium of speech
The medium is the form of the presentation of the speech to the receiver.

For contemporary speech communication we must consider that speech as a singular entity is not only provided in a human communication situation, e.g. when one person talks to another, but also in different media and / or as a composition part on a multiple media composition. Speech communication as the practical work of communication by the use of speech consists of a communication level and a speech level. The communication level is the level for the communication in general, while the speech level is the level of the speech, which is used for communication. While one person only speaks a single speech in one medium, the medial and the multimedial speech use many media. Based upon the ancient system of rhetoric we have three types of speech purposes:

An informative speech purpose
A demonstrative speech purpose
An entertaining speech purpose

The purpose of an informative speech is to try to teach (Latin: docere, to teach) something to the audience. A demonstrative speech is like an informative speech because you have to teach the audience. The speaker also tells the audience how to do something (Latin: movere, to move). An entertaining speech contains information to entertain people. The purpose of this speech is to persuade people by entertaining them in some way (Latin: delectare, to bring joy). When looking at the different types of speech, we first should notice what any speeches have in common. Any speech has a certain amount of data we call the information. These data refer to facts that can be reduced to the topics person(s), time, place and method. E.g. a public speech held in a parliament can be reduced to the person that speaks, the place and time the speech is held and its method. Next to these extrinsic topoi showing the circumstances when the speech is delivered, we also have intrinsic topoi indicating the topics of the speech for facts like what persons are mentioned in the speech, which places, times and methods are mentioned.


Intrinsic and extrinsic topics of a speech

While these topics are facts in a speech, the style is the way these facts are delivered. One example is the final part of a letter: In a very highly stylish way one can say “Yours sincerely”, simpler “sincerely” and in a very common style e.g. “greetings”. Facts and extrinsic topics in this part on a letter are the name of the signature and the date the letter was written. Intrinsic topics are e.g. the person(s) mentioned in the letter, the place(s), time(s) and methods. So for example a description of what the writer has done, when she/ he has been and How she/he went there. The speech style is now the homogeneous style, in which these data are put in. The high style will use a lot of rhetorical elements, the medium style will use only several rhetorical elements in order to make the speech easily and the simple style uses no rhetorical elements, but simply the common language. This simple style we can call also ´natural speech´. The medium style we can call ‘realistic speech’ and the high style we can call the ´artificial speech´. The best type of style is one that comes naturally. No one's style can be successfully copied. Style, its purpose, techniques, and importance, changes with the time and depend on interference with grammar.

Primary structure - - - Plain text - - - Grammar structure

Secondary structure - - - Figural text - - - Rhetorical structure

Primary and secondary structure of a text

Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner. It is a form of communication which adds to the knowledge and wisdom of listeners, or which influences their attitudes or behaviour. In public speaking, as in any form of communication, there are five basic elements of ´who, what, which medium, with which effects, to whom? ’ If we look back top the example of the stylistic element ´rose´, we find that speech levels and types produce meaning next to the basic meaning of words. This quality applies to all elements of style that extent the meaning of a speech. The plain text meaning is this way transformed into a second meaning level, which is to be interpreted by the receivers. The interpretation process is finally the process that brings the meaning to understand the text in its full extension.

Dante : De vulgari eloquentia .
Http://www.fh-augsburg.de/~harsch/dan_v204.html .
Blasius: Rhetorica.
Blasius: Rhetorica.
Http://xoomer.virgilio.it/blasius2/rhetor/rhs.html .
Servius Grammaticus : Vergilii carmina commentarii Commentarius in Aeneida . Http://www.udl.es/usuaris/s2430206/ciceroll.htm .
Erasmus of Rotterdam: Epistolarum formula.
Aristotle : Rhetoric .
Kinney, Thomas J.: The Virtues of Style.
Cf.: Speech acts across cultures. Challenges to communication in a second language. Ed. by Susan M. Gass and Joyce Neu. Berlin; New York 1996 .
Levels in speech communication. Relations and interactions. A tribute to Max Wajskop. Ed. by Christel Sorin. Amsterdam 1995 .
Fluharty, George W.: Public speaking and other forms of speech communication. 2. ed.. New York 1981 .
See for example for the history of style and rhetoric: Carpenter, Ronald H.: History as rhetoric. Style, narrative, and persuasion. Columbia, SC 1995. Pp. 35-43.
Quincey, Thomas de: Essays on style, rhetoric and language. Ed. with introduction and notes by Fred N. Scott. Boston 1893. Pp. 69ff.
Cf.: Thornborrow, Joanna: Patterns in language. An introduction to language and literary style. L ondon 1998. Pp. 38ff.

General works on speech style:
Giles, Howard; Powesland, Peter F.: Speech style and social evaluation. London 1979 .
McKerrow, Raymie E.: Principles and types of speech communication. New York 2000.