“Emphasis” (emphasis]; significatio) is an ancient rhetorical figure that heightens audience participation through strategic ambiguity, polysemy, or otherwise opaque sentence construction. Through careful diction, the writer/speaker directs audience members to a latent meaning, hidden within a seemingly innocuous phrase. Far from mere ornamentation, this figure fundamentally increases persuasive power through narrative engagement, while also providing the writer or speaker plausible deniability.
For the past ten years, I have entertained questions at the intersection of text, audience, and meaning. The cognitive sciences have allowed me to think outside methodological boxes in ways that breath new life into old questions.