Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rhetoric - chiasmus


chiasmus [kaɪˈæzməs] n.

1.) Rhetoric. The arrangement of adjoining parallel clauses or phrases with inverted word order. Normally, parallel clauses have an "a-b-a-b" arrangement. In chiasmus, the order becomes "a-b-b-a" (Garner's Modern American Usage 3rd Ed.).

Etymology: Modern Latin, adopted from Greek χιασµός crossing, diagonal arrangement, especially of clauses of a sentence, from χιάζ-ειν, to mark with or like a chī (χ).

"Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children" (2 Corinthians, Paul of Tarsus, ~55).

(St Paul Preaching in Athens, Raffaello Sanzio, 1515)
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I actually may have to discuss this one in my thesis.

25 comments:

DEZMOND said...

now this is a weird one indeed!

AllenTesch said...

I'm going to practice more before I try a smart alec comment.

Henry said...

I actually knew this one back in 8th grade but had since forgotten.

Melanie said...

very cool word...glad I never got that one in a spelling bee!

thenitefalls said...

I'll have to update my essays with this word!

shari said...

Very interesting! I like those kinds of parallels!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

"Ask not what your COUNTRY can do for YOU, but what YOU can do for your COUNTRY."

Jesse Crows said...

interesting word!

Bart said...

sounds cool to say

JayJay said...

I wonder if I should attempt to teach this to people or whether they will look at me strangely. This has my interest piqued.

Fang said...

We had this with Dutch a while back, but didn't know the English word for it, thanks!

Mercurio said...

Debra got an excellent example, I got it with that one

Intraman said...

What is the subject of your thesis?

Harmonica Guy said...

Interesting. I'll follow you to improve my english vocabulary.

Liz Fichera said...

Very cool.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

nice.

Patti D. said...

In your thesis? good luck!!

You can visit my blog here.

Banacek said...

Hooray! A word I know.

A Beer for the Shower said...

From ABAB to ABBA. Set this to the tune of "Mamma Mia," and I'll never forget it.

Chris Hashemi said...

Wow, great blog... followed. I'm always looking to expand my often lazy vocabulary.

M Pax said...

Nice example. The way rhetoric has changed in useage is interesting.

jos xx said...

i first heard about this word during Italian literature lectures....even in Maltese poems there are alot of chiasmus. What thesis are you doing? I'm doing an MA in poetry!

ps: no digital camera? you must be insane.

jos xx

Colin Biano said...

Abba abba abba abba abba abba

i can't think of an example because abba is distracting me

Ala Mode 7 said...

I've heard this one used before! But I don't remember where. This is such a cool idea for a blog. Definitely following this one.

Astronomy Pirate said...

Pretty interesting, word play like this can make for some interesting story telling.

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