National Forensics League Categories          

by Katharine Jackson


Individual Events

Extemporaneous Speaking Events: Foreign and Domestic  
(FEX and DEX)
        Before the round, the contestant draws three topics. They choose one of the topics and are allowed thirty minutes to research, write, and memorize a speech. In preparation for competition, extempers prepare files containing articles from newsmagazines (such as U.S. News & World Report, Time, Newsweek, and Christian Science Monitor) about various current issues. In competition, they use these files for research. Contestants in FEX draw topics concerning foreign issues. Contestants in DEX draw topics about domestic issues. Extemporaneous speeches last between five and seven minutes.

Original Oratory
        The contestant writes and presents an oration on a topic of the contestant's choice. The use of quotes is optional, but no more than 150 quoted words may be used. A bibliography is required. The oration must be memorized. Original Oratories that reach the semi-finals or finals at the state level are published annually by the Ohio High School Speech League in the book Winning Orations.

Oratorical Interpretation
        The contestant selects a published oratory from Winning Orations and presents it in competition. The oration must be memorized.

Dramatic Interpretation and Humorous Interpretation
(D.I. and H.I.)
        The contestant memorizes and performs a cutting from a published play or book of monologues. The pieces may be monologs or have multiple characters. The contestant plays each character in the piece. Characters are differentiated by different voices, stances, and focal points. No props are allowed. Contestants are not allowed to move beyond the area of an invisible hula-hoop placed around the contestant.

Duo Interpretation
        Contestants select and memorize a cutting with a partner from a published play. Contestants must focus on focal points instead of looking at each other. Contestants are not allowed to touch or move outside of their invisible hula-hoop. No props are allowed. All physical interaction between characters must be mimed. 

Duet Acting
        Contestants select and memorize a cutting with a partner from a published play. Contestants are allowed to interact verbally and physically with each other and move freely about the room. Contestants are allowed to use one table and two chairs as props.

        Contestants select a theme and selections of prose and poetry about their theme. Contestants must give a memorized introduction and transitions between pieces. Selections of prose and poetry are not to be memorized and are to be read from a small black notebook during competition. Contestants are required to have a minimum of 200 words or prose and 200 words of poetry in their piece.



Lincoln-Douglas Debate
        L-D debate concerns philosophical issues of the law. Contestants research and find evidence for both the affirmative and the negative side of the topic. In competition, contestants debate one against one. They are given thirteen minutes to present their argument, followed by three minutes of questions from the opposition. The affirmative side presents their argument first, followed by a cross-examination by the negative and the negative argument. After the affirmative cross-examination, the negative presents their rebuttal, followed by an affirmative rebuttal. Judging for L-D debate is based more on the persuasiveness of the speech than the facts. Every two months, the L-D debate topic changes. 

2-person and 4-person Policy Debate
        Contestants research and find evidence for both the affirmative and 
negative side of the topic. Policy debate concerns current national and international issues and contestants debate the same resolution throughout the year. The affirmative side finds a reason, plan, and benefit for change while the negative side finds reasons not to do the affirmative plan and to defend the current system. In 2-person debate, the teams switch sides of the issue halfway through the round. In 4-person debate, each team stays on their respective side throughout the entire round. Each speaker has eight minutes of constructive speech, followed by three minutes of cross-examination from the other side. In the second half of the round, each speaker gets five minutes for a rebuttal. Policy debate is judged on facts more than persuasiveness of speech. Both L-D and Policy debate must stick to their resolution. Penalties are given for presenting non-topical arguments.