Linguistic & Rhetorical Approaches to Writing

English 618  -  Spring 2008 

About the class:

"Advanced study of rhetorical theory and linguistic methodologies. Emphasizes application of theory to writing and the teaching of writing" (HSU Catalog 2008). 


Dr. Kathleen Doty


Aside from introducing me to fascinating theorists such as Kenneth Burke and Walter Ong, this class also taught me how writing does what it does. The work I did in this class brought my writing, and thus my ability to teach writing, to a whole new level.

We learned about ancient and modern theories of rhetoric, then studied them both in relation to linguistic analysis of written language (stylistics).  The exercises we completes were "aimed at both the practicalities of teaching writing and the expansion of your own stylistic repertoire" (Doty, Class Syllabus). 

Goals of the Course 

  • Basic tenets of classical rhetoric 
  • Modern rhetorical theories 
  • Relationship between linguistics and the teaching of writing 
  • Applying rhetorical and linguistic theory to the teaching of writing 
  • Increasing stylistic fluency through analysis and written exercises (Doty, Class Syllabus) 


Online Discussion Contributions

"Truth, Influence, Resistance" - Each of us had to lead one discussion. I went first to get it out of the way, and the reading was "Rhetorical Pedagogy" by William Covino.

I also responded to Walter Ong's "Orality and Literacy" and "The Writer's Audience is Always a Fiction"


Pentad Lesson- "Examining the Opposing View"

Sentence Diagramming - "Rhetorical Diagramming Exercise"

Sentence Imitation- "If Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery"

Literary Analysis  - "Stylistic Analysis of Literary Text"

Form- "Paragraph Analysis Exercise"


"Engage & Equip: Why Jay Heinrich's Thank You for Arguing Belongs in your Professional Library"

Final Project

"Relevant Rhetoric: Using Jay Heinrich's Thank You for Arguing in First-year Composition"

End-of Semester Party at Dr. Doty's

Professor Doty graciously invited all of us and our significant others to her house at the end of the semester. There we were able to catch our breaths after a semester of hard work as we laughed, talked, ate and drank.

Skyler, Rose, Chris, Steph and Nick.

Prof. Doty, Sarah P., Mark, and Sarah S.

Mike, Sarah M. and Reagan.

Authors We Read

  • David Blakesley
  • William Covino 
  • Cabel Crain
  • Francis Christensen
  • Edward Corbett
  • Connors
  • Cheryl Glenn 
  • Ursula Leguin
  • Walter Ong