Speech (10%) (2 minutes)
of the moments when language floored or elevated
hearing, "I love you,"
for the 1st time;
hearing, "Your sister has died."
of those moments when a sentence is legally binding:
marriage/commitment ceremonies, the couple says “I do;”
the judge declares that an accused killer is “innocent.”
both cases, the phrase/sentence creates a new legal reality.
Obama raises his hand and takes the oath of office, he becomes the President. Until that day, G.W. Bush remains the leader
of the United States.
pragmatic use of language is detailed in Stephen Austin’s book, How to Do Things with Words. Austin's
point is that, more than we admit,
Language creates reality.
If it is to be a special day, then language will be part of what makes
Graduations, and other legal events are made special -- and legal --
Your last speech is a COMMEMORATIVE SPEECH.
What is the Rhetorical Situation? At your celebratory party following
your own graduation, you are expected to give a compelling and inspiring speech. Your Aunt has an envelope, and your speech
should make her glad to give it to you.
Commemorative speeches depend on the creative and subtle use of language.
Main Purpose: Inspire;
Secondary purposes: Provide information; Express feelings; stir sentiment.
Your graduation toast is in the same genre as the eulogy. Both types
use language to memorialize and to stir emotions. However, your speech should be:
Length: 2 minutes
Who is the Audience? As diverse as you will encounter, unless you run
Your family of all ages and backgrounds; your friends of all backgrounds;
your professors and friends from speech class, if you invite us! Wee children and your ancient auntie—and they
all want to hear you speak to them.
Be cautious with jokes.
Acknowledge those who helped you.
Acknowledge your own hard work and struggle.
Anticipate the future you now have with your graduation behind you.