Winston Churchill, as a British Prime Minister, is an outstanding speaker. Due to his skilled speech, a lot of crisis has been solved. Therefore, studying Winston Churchill’s speech has a practical significance to a certain degree. First and foremost, this paper reviews some scholars’ study at home and abroad on Winston Churchill’s speech and then collects some of his famous wartime speeches, exploring his most frequently used rhetorical strategies in his speech from the aspect of phonology, lexicology and syntax. Lastly, the influence of Aristotelian Rhetoric on Winston Churchill’s public speech are also researched from three levels—logical appeal, emotional appeal and credibility appeal, based on the theory of Aristotelian Rhetoric.
Key words: Winston Churchill’s speech; Rhetoric strategies; Three Appeals
1. Introduction 1
2. Literature Review 2
2.1 Studies on Winston Churchill’s speeches at home 2
2.2 Studies on Winston Churchill’s speeches abroad 2
2.3 Winston Churchill’s crisis-solving speeches 3
3. Rhetorical Strategies in Winston Churchill’s Crisis-solving Speeches 4
3.1 Phonological level 4
3.2 Lexical level 5
3.3 Syntactic level 7
4. Aristotle’s Three Appeals and Winston Churchill’s Crisis-solving Speeches 10
4.1 Aristotle’s Three Appeals 10
4.2 Being clear: Logical appeal 11
4.3 Being persuasive: Emotional appeal 12
4.4 Being trustworthy: Credibility appeal 13
5. Conclusion 15
Rhetoric Strategies for Crisis-solving in Winston Churchill’s Speeches
Public speech plays an essential role in selling, election, especially in crisis-solving, be it the economic crisis, the war crisis, or disaster crisis. This speech aims at convincing the listeners to agree with you and take actions in order.
Throughout history, many celebrities gave famous speeches in public to solve the crisis, such as Franklin Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi and Ronald Reagan and so on. These celebrities had a profound and lasting effect on society and even reversed the situation. For example, Martin Luther King delivered his speech named I Have a Dream in 1963. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’.” This is a part of the speech given by Martin Luther King. His words are powerful and successfully fight for human rights of black people with great appeal to emotion.
Public speech also plays an essential role in war crisis, for instance, George Ⅵ,a king of England who was diagnosed with serious stutter, gave an encouraging wartime speech declaring war in Germany, expressing the views and stirring citizen’s enthusiasm and ultimately winning their support. However, in this paper, Winston Churchill also brings about a radical change in Britain even in the whole world by means of his various speeches. His speech can be seen as a landmark that has reversed the situation with rhetorical strategies, emotional appeal, logical appeal and credibility appeal.
2 Literature Review