Glossary

It’s tedious and it breaks the flow to need constantly to explain terms to the uninitiated so there follows a glossary to which I will add elements when they become necessary.  Of course, if you had already attended one of my courses and/or master-classes or read my book The Face & Tripod, you wouldn’t need a glossary.

  • Anadiplosis: you begin a phrase or sentence with the word(s) that ended the previous one.
  • Anaphora: a form of repetition wherein the beginnings of the repeated phrase or sentence are the same.
  • Anapodoton: Can mean a tailing-off of a sentence, leaving it incomplete; or it can mean a self-interruption.
  • Apocope: the deliberate removal of a syllable from the end of a word. Accidental removal is just lousy diction – see Every Word Heard. Obama does it all the time.
  • Argumentum ad hominem: the logical fallacy that plays the man not the ball – e.g. “Anyone who believes that is a bad person”
  • Argumentum ad populum: the logical fallacy that bases itself on headcount. Any consensus argument makes this mistake.
  • Argumentum ad verecundiam: another logical fallacy. The appeal to authority. “All clever people think this way…”
  • Asyndeton: A list of items, each standing alone, not linked to its neighbours by a conjunction.
  • Auxesis: a crescendo. Building up for a big finish, pressing the loud pedal towards a juicy punchline, etc.
  • Bald opening (my term): straight in without any preamble.
  • Chiasmus. A figure of speech in which the same set of words is repeated but in a different order.
  • Claptrap. You think it means rubbish – and so it does – but its original meaning, and one I continue to use, is any speaking device designed to elicit applause.
  • Contents Page (my term). Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
  • Decorum: The prevailing ambience. A speaker should either create it or blend with it.
  • Epistrophe: a form of repetition wherein the ends of the repeated phrase or sentence (or even word!) are the same.
  • Ethos: what the speaker contrives to establish as his relationship with his audience or his message or both. In short, credentials.
  • Face: (my word) A sentence or phrase by which the whole speech is remembered.
  • Hanging thread (my term) A device where you tell the audience you will return later to this point to say more. Can be a powerful attention-retainer if sparingly, skilfully, and subtly deployed: too often it isn’t.
  • Hierarchical Hello: (my term) e.g. “Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Grace, My Lord Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen…”
  • Howl-round (sometimes called feedback): when the microphone picks up output from the speakers, and you get a dreadful high-pitched screeching whistle. The sound quality gets ‘tinny’ when howl-round is threatened.
  • Hump: (my word) a period of extra nervousness, usually at the beginning of a speech.  Audiences experience their own version.
  • James Bond film opening (my expression). The speaker doesn’t say even hello till after an audience-settling episode, often apparently unconnected with the topic in hand.
  • Neil Armstrong moment: (my expression – correct term is parapraxis) pure stress causes a simple sentence to come out wrong (“One small step for a man…”). When Gordon Brown in the House of Commons inadvertently claimed to have “saved the world”, it was one of these.
  • Paralipsis: a rhetorical device where, by saying that you are not going to talk about something, you actually contrive to highlight it.
  • Peroration: The big finish!
  • PQ (Pinocchio Quotient):  A measure of economy with veracity.
  • Polysyndeton: With a list of items, you go out of your way to stick the same word(s) – usually, but not necessarily, a conjunction – between each element in the list.  Thus: bread and butter and jam and honey and peanut butter. It provides a very particular form of emphasis
  • Popping: (a sound-engineer’s term) that awful sound made by a speaker’s percussive consonants when speaking too directly into a microphone.
  • Shooting from the hip: (my expression) speaking without notes.
  • Speech mode (my expression): an artificial assumed persona that hides your true personality.
  • Symploce: a form of repetition wherein the beginnings and the ends of the repeated phrase or sentence are the same.
  • Talking head: (my expression) a speaker who merely reads a script.
  • Triad: groups of three have a special power.
  • Tricolon: a sentence that divides distinctly into three sections of (usually) equal length.
  • Tripod: (my word) it’d take too long to explain. Read my book!

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