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Accent

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Accent

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

The accent (or emphasis) used within the statement in question gives a different meaning from that of the words alone.
The key principle is that emphasis put on a word or phrase directs attention to those words, signifying importance.

Emphasis in speech may be accidental or due to dialect, but often reflects the deeper meaning of what the person really intends.

Example

I wonder if you really want to do this. (Accent implies 'you want to do this')

What do you think people need about Charmix? (Accent says 'you need Charmix')

Discussion

The emphasis put on words in a sentence changes the meaning, often radically, which is one reason why the spoken word can communicate so much more than the written word (although limited emphasis may be used here).

Emphasis draws attention to words, indicating priority, although this often happens at a subconscious level (which is one reason it is often used in subtle sales and advertising pitches).

Because of the subconscious element, it is possible to understand what a person really means, and what they are actually feeling, from the emphasis they use.

We also interpret the emphasis subconsciously, which is an opportunity for the persuader to turn simple words into a powerful way of subtle communication.

Accent is one of Aristotle's 13 fallacies.

Classification

Ambiguity, Linguistic

Also known as

Emphasis

See also

Emphasis, Attention principle

 

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