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Rhetorical situation, rhetorical appeals and conceptual metaphors in Nursi’s Damascus Sermon


Abdullah, Nur Sakinah Thomas (2017) Rhetorical situation, rhetorical appeals and conceptual metaphors in Nursi’s Damascus Sermon. PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Abstract / Synopsis

Classical rhetoric which originated from the times of ancient scholars has now developed rapidly in discourse analysis. However, how rhetoric has managed to reveal the persuasive language in sermons is still in the motion of research. There is also limited attention on language and persuasion especially on Muslim thinkers. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1877-1960) was a prominent Muslim theologian and thinker of the late Ottoman and Modern Turkey whose writings are considered as influential, but studies on Nursi’s persuasive strategies are scarce. Therefore, this study attempts to explain the persuasive strategies used by Nursi in one of his writings which is Damascus Sermon (1911) delivered in the historic Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. More specifically, the objective of the current study is to analyse the rhetorical situation in reference to lexical signals, the rhetorical appeals and the conceptual metaphors used by Nursi as persuasive strategies. The interrelatedness of the rhetorical situation, rhetorical appeals and conceptual metaphors that effect persuasion is also analysed. A qualitative research method following an explanatory case study design based on Kinneavy's (1971) theory of discourse was used to analyse the Sermon. ATLAS.ti 7 was used for coding and categorising the data in this study. The theoretical perspectives include Bitzer's (1980) rhetorical situation consisting of exigence, audience and constraints; rhetorical appeals on ethical appeals (ethos), emotional appeals (pathos) and logical appeals (logos) based on classical rhetoric. Hoey's (2013) Problem-Solution pattern was used to analyse the lexical signals and Martin's (2000) inscribed and evoked appraisals were used to evaluate the pattern. Lakoff and Johnson's (2008) Conceptual Metaphor Theory was used to interpret the metaphorical linguistic expressions. The results revealed how persuasion was achieved by Nursi through the mode of thoughts and actions inherent in his language which created the driving force behind a mass of followers. They also revealed the recycling Problem-Solution pattern in the structure of the Sermon’s rhetorical situation, the effectiveness of Nursi’s interrelated rhetorical appeals and the conceptualisation of metaphors such as life, despair and love. The results showed that the awareness of the rhetorical situation, the inscribed and evoked appraisals, the correlated rhetorical appeals and the metaphorical linguistic expressions from the conceptual metaphors interrelated effectively as Nursi’s persuasive strategies. Eventually, the findings showed the positive modification and Positive Evaluation in the Sermon are related to Nursi’s life-long principle of ‘positive action’ that reveals the themes of belief and freedom which convey the message of universal peace. These findings are expected to have implications for orators, educators, administrators, authors and experts in influencing their audience through persuasive strategies. Although this study has limitations as the focus is on rhetorical situation, lexical signals, invention and conceptual metaphors of a translated sermon, the findings are expected to help researchers in the areas of rhetoric and language studies. This study has theoretical contributions as the integrated theories and model from the rhetorical, linguistic and metaphorical perspectives used in analysing the Sermon can benefit orators and other researchers who are analysing sermons and other similar discourses.

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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subject: Rhetorical criticism
Call Number: FBMK 2017 18
Chairman Supervisor: Vahid Nimehchisalem, PhD
Divisions: Faculty of Modern Language and Communication
Depositing User: Mas Norain Hashim
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 11:22
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2019 11:22
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