Commencement Argument Essay

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Using generic criticism in analyzing commencement speeches has also been done.
In her thesis, The Development of a Genre: Commencement Addresses Delivered by Popular Cultural Icons, Gault (2008) examined the genre of commencement rhetoric and utilized commencement speeches to determine the significant characteristics of the genre. Establishing the commonalities within the genre of commencement addresses gives the speaker a structure to which he can pattern his speech. For the audience, genres enable them to know what to expect from the speaker. The methodology used was generic criticism. Generic criticism, as defined by Gault (2008), is a method that entails the categorization of a text into a group composed of similar discourse.
Two commencement speeches were analyzed, that of Stephen Colbert, delivered in Knox College Ceremony in June, 2006, and that of Jon Stewart,
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This approach views discourse as the use of language and language structure and the creation of meaning. It is an approach designed to display the overall system of grammar rather than only a fragment (Halliday and Matthiessan, 2004). Systematic Functional Grammar has two components – systematic grammar and functional grammar. Systematic grammar explains the internal relations in language as a system network or meaning potential. Functional grammar views language as a “means of social interaction based on the position that language system is determined by the users or functions which they serve” (Hu Zhuanglin, 1988, as cited in Wang, 2010). Halliday also integrated in the Systematic Functional Grammar the three meta-functions of discourse analysis, the ideational function, interpersonal function and textual function. In this study, the researchers focus only one meta-function, the interpersonal functions (modality) using Halliday’s

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