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Developing a Cumulative Effect of Persuasion through Using a Particular Linguistic Patterning of Reference Switching in a Fundraising Letter

Ibrahim Hamad


This paper argues how persuasion can be developed cumulatively through using a particular linguistic patterning of reference switching in a fundraising letter. It starts with a brief discussion of some linguistic styles of persuasion; then it moves to explain how reference switching as a linguistic style is related to the process of persuasion. After that the paper presents a detailed description of the method of analysis which is mainly based on the three dimensions of context as well as a preliminary description of the data (divided into three parts) found in that letter. Therefore, the persuasive aspect of that appeal letter will be interpreted through analyzing the pattern of reference switching within the text by investigating the communicative aspect (field, tenor, and mode), socio-semiotic aspect (ideational, interpersonal, and textual), and pragmatic aspect (speech acts and implicature). The procedure of analysis will deal with each part of the letter separately, but the paper concludes to show how those three parts are connected together so as to persuade the reader into adopting the major goal of the letter i.e. donating money.

Keywords: persuasion, reference switching, fundraising letter, context, communicative/socio-semiotic/pragmatic aspects.

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