History of writing

Cicero was a Roman politician and rhetorician who lived in the years 106-43 BCE, and he set up a pentagram as a model of what elements are included in the communication between people. The essence of Cicero’s pentagram is that the individual corners influence each other.

The linguistic form of communication depends on the recipient (age, level of education), but also on the circumstances in which communication is subject: there is thus a difference between whether communication takes place via text message, a letter or face to face. Precisely because the different elements of the model affect each other, there are dashes inside the pentagram.

Speech is the sender of communication

  • The subject is what the sender is talking about.
  • The audience is the one (s) to whom the communication is addressed, ie the recipient of the communication.

Language is the language you need to talk about. It is clear that a sender chooses his language according to the subject and the recipient: You use the language in a different way when you declare your love than if you have to write a physics report. The recipient of communication also influences language – you talk to a child differently than you do to the police.

Of course, the modern media image Ciceros could not foresee and take into account in the pentagram. In a modernized application of Cicero’s rhetorical pentagram, the category ‘language’ can cover all the communicative packaging and thus also cover visual instruments and effects.

Circumstances should initially be understood as the historical context or context of events in which communication takes place. When a politician stands up and talks about the castration of pigs should be banned, it must be seen in relation to the circumstances: a television reportage has shown the day before how painful it is for the pigs to be castrated. Communication takes place in a context, and that context looks at the circumstances.

In modern media reality, where there are different surfaces to communicate on, ‘circumstances’ may include the medium of communication itself. Each media has some specific genre characteristics that are important to the choice of language, but the topic is also decisive on which communication area the sender chooses.

If you tell your parents (belongers) that you do not come home and eat (the subject), then you probably will not talk and shout to your parents or write it in a facebook update (circumstances), but communicate it in a telephone conversation or on SMS (circumstances).