Rhetorical Functions in Academic Speaking: Classifying / categorising


Read the following texts and answer the questions below:

There are three main types of volcanic eruptions: (1) the explosive type, in which the volcano thows out rock fragments with explosive violence; (2) the quiet type, in which hot liquid rock quietly flows on the surface; (3) the intermediate type, which are sometimes violent and at other times consist of the quiet outflowing of lava.

Adapted from This earth of ours. p. 5-6

Bipods and tripods

There are two sorts of people in this world, says Alistair Mant, and one of them ought never to be promoted to high rank. One sort thinks of life, and success, in terms of his or her relationships with other people - the object being to control, dominate or seduce the other in the interest of personal survival. These are the bipods, or raiders. The other sort are tripods or builders (ternary thinkers as opposed to binary thinkers). For them the question is not so much 'Shall I win?' but 'What's it for?' For these people there is a third corner to all relation-ships - the task or the purpose. They can, says Mant, run personal risks in pursuit of some high purpose and can observe themselves in their relationships. They can, as it were, see the joke.

Mant argues that the raider or bipod mentality may thrive for a time but that this form of flawed leadership eventually self-destructs, while if you ask people for examples of great leaders in their own experience they will speak of teachers, managers, fathers (or, more likely, mothers) who were uncompromising in the pursuit of a task or a vision (the third corner).

'Transforming leadership' (the term used by James MacGregor Burns) is tripod thinking, while 'transactional leadership' is closer to the bipod mode. Similarly, Adorno's idea of the authoritarian personality fits the raider, not the builder. We need more builders and fewer raiders in our homes, schools, politics and businesses, but the British tradition fosters the raider, not the builder.

A. Mant, Leaders We Deserve. 1984

Blood Type

Blood Type, in medicine, is the classification of red blood cells by the presence of specific substances on their surface. Typing of red blood cells is a prerequisite for blood transfusion. In the early part of the 20th century, physicians discovered that blood transfusions often failed because the blood type of the recipient was not compatible with that of the donor. In 1901 the Austrian pathologist Karl Landsteiner classified blood types and discovered that they were transmitted by Mendelian heredity. The four blood types are known as A, B, AB, and O. Blood type A contains red blood cells that have a substance A on their surface. This type of blood also contains an antibody directed against substance B, found on the red cells of persons with blood type B. Type B blood contains the reverse combination. Serum of blood type AB contains neither antibody, but red cells in this type of blood contain both A and B substances. In type O blood, neither substance is present on the red cells, but the individual is capable of forming antibodies directed against red cells containing substance A or B. If blood type A is transfused into a person with B type blood, anti-A antibodies in the recipient will destroy the transfused A red cells. Because O type blood has neither substance on its red cells, it can be given successfully to almost any person. Persons with blood type AB have no antibodies and can receive any of the four types of blood; thus blood types O and AB are called universal donors and universal recipients, respectively. Other hereditary blood-group systems have subsequently been discovered. The hereditary blood constituent called Rh factor is of great importance in obstetrics and blood transfusions because it creates reactions that can threaten the life of newborn infants. Blood types M and N have importance in legal cases involving proof of paternity.

Microsoft Encarta

Type A and Type B

Friedman and Rosenham first distinguished between Type A and Type B people. Individuals with certain behavioural traits were found to be more susceptible to coronary heart disease (Type A) than the low-risk Type B individuals.

Type A people are characterized by 'extreme competitiveness, striving for achievement, aggressiveness, haste, impatience, restlessness. hyperalertness, explosiveness of speech, tenseness of facial musculature and feelings of being under pressure of time and under the challenge of responsibility'. Type B were more laid back.

A national sample in the United States of 3,400 men (without heart disease) was judged by a panel of psychiatrists and rated A or B. Two and a half years later Type A men aged between 39 and 49 had 6.5 times the incidence of coronary heart disease of the Type B men. Between 50 and 59 the incidence was 1.9 times higher. When a similar study was done on Benedictine and Trappist monks the same sort of difference emerged!

In 1976 Howard et al. looked at 236 managers and found that extreme Type A behaviour was associated with a range of known risk factors (high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, smoking and lack of fitness).

Press this button to check your answers: