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Rhetorical Devices as Multimodal Conceptual Blends in Brene Brown’s 99U Conference Talk (2013)

Nahla Nadeem
English Language and Literature Studies , Volume 11; doi:10.5539/ells.v11n1p9

Abstract: The present study examines the rhetorical devices used by Brené Brown in a 99U conference Talk (2013) in order to engage and persuade the audience that vulnerability is the seed of creativity and therefore, should be embraced as a stepping-stone to success. The study mainly explores the role conceptual blending theory plays in the exploitation of multimodal rhetorical devices, which include an inspirational quote, analogies and metaphors (both verbal and visual) and how they form a ‘mega-blend’ and a complex network of conceptual integration. The study also applies the conceptual blending model and the discursive process of framing in the analysis as crucial for the meaning construal of these multimodal rhetorical blends. The blending-framing analysis showed that these diverse rhetorical devices often require a complex multi-frame analysis and a larger mental space network of mappings to derive the intended message and achieve the intended rhetorical effect on the audience. The analysis also showed that the blending-framing model provided a unified theoretical framework that could examine the discursive function and multimodal representations of diverse rhetorical devices in edutainment events.
Keywords: model / multimodal / audience / blending / diverse / brown / talk / rhetorical / intended / 99U

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