Course Information

CAES9921 Great Speeches: Rhetoric and Delivery

Coordinator: Dr. Eleanor KWAN


This 6-credit course aims to enhance students’ understanding of the influences of great speeches on social thought and political movements by analysing the argument structures, rhetorical devices and language choices of a range of classic speeches or speech texts. Students will acquire deeper insights into the processes that persuasion and argumentation entail and have an opportunity to put the rhetorical skills and techniques into practice.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify specific genre characteristics of a great speech
  • Evaluate the linguistic/rhetorical devices of a number of speech texts
  • Critique speech texts in relation to their purpose, audience and message
  • Recognize the ideologies, assumptions and values underlying the speech texts
  • Apply the linguistic and rhetorical strategies to their own speeches


  • Students work in groups on a research project on an agreed topic related to social inequality/injustice.)
  • Students form a reading-and -discussion group to share opinions of speech texts analysis.)
  • Students take part in small group tutorials to present and discuss topics which have been covered in and out of class.)

Assessment Methods:

(with breakdown of percentage weighting of the various methods)

  • Oral Presentations (50%)
  • Essays (30%)
  • Group learning work (20%)