Glossary of Shared Vocabulary:
English 101 and Communication 110

Accuracy In evaluating a deductive argument, the truth or verifiability of the major and minor premises (p. FF-82).

Ad Hominem A fallacy in which the person, rather than the issue at hand, becomes the focus (argument against the person) (p. FF-84).

Example: There is no doubt that American businesses have been hurt by all the environmental regulations passed in recent years. Most of the regulations were dreamed up by ivory-tower intellectuals, tree huggers, and pin-headed government bureaucrats. We can’t afford those kinds of regulations.

Ambiguity (Fallacies of) Arguments that are flawed because they contain a word or words with two or more meanings (p. FF-85; equivocation and division).

Analogical Reasoning Reasoning in which a speaker compares two similar cases and infers that what is true for the first case is also true for the second (p. 444).

Analysis Generally, the process of examining a whole with regard to its parts, particularly with an eye toward determining their nature and interrelationships. In English 101 and Comm 110, the process of examining a text or the process by which a text was produced for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the text or process.

Appeal A rhetorical strategy designed to engage the audience with an issue in order to accomplish a desired result. Appeals may be based on logic (see “Logos”), emotion (see “Pathos”), or character (see “Ethos”).

Appeal to Authority A fallacy that occurs when a person offers information that is outside her or his area of expertise (p. FF-85).

Example: Ken Griffey Jr. knows what he is talking about when he says that Jay’s Auto-Body shop is the best in town; after all, he is the greatest baseball player in history.

Appeal to the People A fallacy that invites you to join the group and do something because “everyone is doing it”; also known as the bandwagon fallacy (p. FF-84).

Example: Let’s buy a SUV because that’s what the “cool” people drive.

Argument Arguments consist of propositions and their justification. A proposition is a statement of what you believe, whereas a justification is all the evidence you have gathered that supports the proposition (p. FF-81).

Argument Link Provides a link between the claim and evidence; explains how the data proves the speaker’s point (also know as the warrant in Toulmin’s argument model).

Audience The person or group for whom the message is intended.

Audience Analysis A critical step in the process of deciding upon an appeal, building an argument, and shaping a text; the consideration of the audience’s age, background, gender, economic status, beliefs, biases, culture, concerns, etc.

Assertion A statement that the author/speaker believes to be true. (See “Claim.”)

Backing Use to substantiate or qualify the speaker’s evidence (evidence credibility) (argument model).

Begging the Question A fallacy that occurs when you use a conclusion that is also your premise; also called a circular argument (p. FF-85).

Example: All educated people can speak competently in public (all competent speakers are educated).

Causal Reasoning Reasoning that seeks to establish the relationship between causes and effects (p. 443).

Claim A statement or point the speaker is attempting to make, assertion (argument model).

Convention The way things are usually done; perhaps less stringent than a rule, but still a major consideration in the production of a text. Conventions may affect decisions as broad as the organization of a text or as narrow as the punctuation of a sentence.

Copy-editing The process of reviewing a text for the purpose of addressing grammatical and mechanical considerations.

Critical Listening Listening that challenges the speaker’s message by evaluating its accuracy, meaningfulness, and utility (p. FF-78).

Critical Thinking Analyzing and judging the accuracy of messages (p. FF-79). Focused, organized thinking about such things as the logical relationships among ideas, the soundness of evidence, and differences between fact and opinion (p. 16).

Deductive Argument (reasoning from principle) An argument that progresses from a general proposition to a specific instance (p. FF-82).

Delivery The process of making a spoken text public; the presentation of a spoken text to its audience. Note: delivery may also refer to the medium of delivery used for a text (for example, a web page has a very specific presentation/delivery)

Discourse Community A group of “knowledgeable peers” whose ideas shape and are shaped by each other’s thinking, speaking, and writing.

Discovery Draft A single, early iteration of a text, generally used for the discovery of possible ideas, issues, audiences, purposes, and so on.

Division (Fallacy of) A fallacy in which you argue that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole or that what is true of the whole must be true of the parts.

Example: Jimmy, a student in my history class, is highly motivated. The whole class must be over-achievers.

Documentation The process of identifying for the audience the sources of information and evidence used in a text. Ethical and responsible writers and speakers routinely document all outside sources within the body of the text and in a separate listing.

Draft for Editing A late draft of a text; respondents are asked to consider meaning-preserving issues such as grammar and mechanics.

Draft for Response A relatively early draft of a text; respondents are asked to help the author create meaning and knowledge by offering their own perspectives on the issue and the text as well as responding to questions posed by the author.

Enthymeme Parts of a deductive argument, such as a premise or a conclusion (p. FF-83). A truncated syllogism.

Equivocation (Fallacy of) A fallacy that occurs when you purposefully use the ambiguous qualities of language to your advantage or when you use two different meanings of the same word within a single context (p. FF-86). You equivocate when you use terms like oldest, thinnest, or tallest without specifying the context.
Example: Pamela is so thin. She has lost more weight than anyone else in our Weight Watchers group.

Ethos A personal proof, or ethos, is based on the authority and knowledge of a credible source (p. FF-82).

Evidence The proof a speaker uses to substantiate claims (argument model). Evidence may include personal experience, anecdotes, expert testimony, comparisons or analogies, facts, statistics, examples, charts/diagrams/graphs, concrete details, quotations, reasons, and/or definitions.

Exigency The pressing need or desire that drives a communication situation. The writer/speaker’s motivation.

Fallacy An argument that is flawed, does not follow rules of logic, and therefore is not to be believed (p. FF-84). An error in reasoning (p. 445).

False Alternatives A fallacy which suggests that only two alternatives are possible and that one of the two is disastrous or to be avoided (p. FF-85).

Example: Either we build a new high school or children in this town will never get into elite colleges.

False Cause The fallacy of attributing the cause of something to whatever happened before it (p. FF-85).

Example: I’m never eating oysters again. The last time I had oysters, I got pregnant.

Final Analytical Essay A text produced at the end of the semester for inclusion in the portfolio. The final analytical essay looks critically at the body of work produced in the class as well as the processes used to produce that body of work.

Final Unit Draft A relatively late draft of a text; one that is ready to be submitted for evaluation by an instructor.

Forum The “site of publication”; where the message/text is made public.

Forum Analysis A critical step in the shaping of a message/text. The consideration of the forum’s audience, conventions, biases, and so on for the purpose of shaping a text.

Hasty Generalization A fallacy in which an inference is drawn from insufficient observation; also called a premature generalization (p. FF-85).

Example: I was once bitten by a dog, so I will never trust dogs again.

Inductive Argument (reasoning from specific instances) An argument that progresses from specific instances to a generalization (p. FF-82).

Inference A generalization from or about information you have received through your senses (pp. FF-81).

Invalid Analogy An analogy in which the two cases being compared are not essentially alike (p. 444).

Example: In Great Britain the general election campaign for Prime Minister lasts less than three weeks. Surely we can do the same with the U.S. presidential election.

Invention The process of selecting a topic or issue, determining a perspective, and identifying appropriate kinds of evidence and appeals to be used in the presentation of the issue to a particular audience for a particular purpose.

Irrelevant Conclusion A fallacy that occurs when evidence supports one conclusion but you draw another one (p. FF-85).

Example: By beginning to confront rainforest destruction in the third world, our environmental movement will become more appealing to ethnic activists. Racism is a heinous crime against society.

Kairos The opportune moment for a communication to take place; the occasion or “teachable moment.”

Logos A logical proof, or logos, is based on reasoning (p. FF-82).

Message Analysis A step in critical thinking and listening that includes evaluating the process by which information and knowledge was discovered and evaluating the message itself (p. FF-80).

Observation A description based on phenomena that can be sensed—seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or felt (pp. FF-81).

Pathos An emotional proof, or pathos, is based on feelings or emotions (p. FF-82).

Portfolio An evaluation instrument; a collection of artifacts that demonstrate student learning and growth.

Portfolio Draft A final iteration of a text for purposes of the course; one prepared especially for inclusion in the portfolio.

Pre-emption Requires the speaker to anticipate counterarguments to her/his position and answer them ahead of time (argument model).

The writer/speaker’s goal. What s/he hopes to accomplish through the text.

Qualifier A statement that qualifies the speaker’s argument by admitting exceptions (argument model).

Red Herring A fallacy that introduces an irrelevant issue to divert attention from the subject under discussion (p. 446).

Example: How dare my opponents accuse me of political corruption at a time when we are working to improve the quality of life in the United States.

Relevance (Fallacies of) Arguments that are flawed because the conclusion is based on irrelevant premises (p. FF-84; ad hominem, appeal to the people, appeal to authority, hasty generalization, false cause, begging the question, irrelevant conclusion, and false alternatives).

Research, Primary The process of accumulating evidence through first-hand observation and investigation. Primary research tools include the examination of texts, observations, surveys, interviews, laboratory experiments, and so on.

Research, Secondary The process of accumulating evidence found in previously published work. Secondary research tools include books, magazines, newspapers, government documents, reports, websites, television or radio broadcasts, and so on.

Response The process of providing substantive feedback to an author or speaker. Ideally, such feedback is designed to provide the author/speaker with additional information or evidence or a new or different perspective on a text or issue—one that s/he may not have previously considered.

Revision, Global Literally, the process of “re-seeing” a text for the purpose of making it more suitable for the rhetorical situation within which it exists. Global revision consists of making changes that affect the text as a whole.

Revision, Local Literally, the process of “re-seeing” a text of the purpose of preserving meaning, achieving clarity, enhancing style, or addressing other concerns at the section, paragraph, sentence, or word level.

Revision Strategies Approaches to revising texts. Specific revision strategies include addition, deletion, substitution, transposition (re-organization), or transformation (a change in audience, purpose, forum, format, genre, etc.)

Rhetorical Situation The conditions that shape a text, including its topic, audience, purpose and forum.

Slippery Slope A fallacy that assumes that taking a first step will lead to subsequent steps that cannot be prevented (p. 448).

Example: If we allow the government to restrict the sale of semi-automatic weapons, before we know it, there will be a ban on the ownership of handguns and even hunting rifles. And once our constitutional right to bear arms has been compromised, the right of free speech will be the next to go.

Source Credibility The speaker’s competence to make the claim, as perceived by the listeners (p. FF-80).

Structure The organization or arrangement of ideas within a text. While most texts have a clear beginning, middle, and end, the specific organizational pattern of any individual text should be determined by the demands of the rhetorical situation. In other words, ideas should be arranged in a way that will anticipate and meet the needs of the audience while allowing for the effective and efficient accomplishment of the author’s purpose. Certain conventions of forum or genre may also play a role in determining an appropriate structure for a text.

Style The manner in which speakers or writers express their ideas. Style may refer to the manner of delivery, to the choice and arrangement of words, the use of figures of speech, and so on. The most important consideration concerning style, however, is its rhetorical appropriateness and effectiveness.

Syllogism An argument with a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion (p. FF-82).

Text Any written, spoken, or visual artifact which can be analyzed with the intent of coming to a better understanding of its nature (e.g. an article, a speech, a picture, a movie, a song, etc.)

Tone A reflection of the writer/speaker’s attitude toward the issue as reflected in the text. Some examples of tones include: seriousness, passion, humor, satire or sarcasm, righteousness, mocking, objective, detached, didactic, dogmatic, questioning, superior, idealistic, and so on. Once again, the key is to strike a tone that is appropriate for a given rhetorical situation.

Unit Analysis A brief analysis of the student’s work during the course of a single unit. An examination of the text produced during the unit as well as the processes used to produce the text.

Validity In evaluating a deductive argument, the ability to logically derive a conclusion from its propositions (p. FF-83).


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