‘Mr. President, discourse matters: a contrastive analysis of Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s discourse

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Abstract


Whether a person is depicted as a hero or a villain, his discourse can be representative of his personality; the way the audience is addressed or the type of used words can play a part in determining the public image of any individual. This paper is contextualized within the analysis of political language. The purpose of this research is to analyze the language forms used by the current president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and his predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, and as well to discuss how their linguistic discourse influences their public image in the field of politics. The method implemented in this research is based on the analysis of three main focal points: the amount of words and length of sentences, the morphological composition and the use of pronouns in their speeches. The corpus of this research consists of six speeches which are equivalent in pairs and delivered by each president in the same specific contexts: their presidential announcement, election night victory and inauguration speech. The results obtained in this research show some significant differences between the two presidents regarding the analyzed items and they seem to justify how they affect their public image. In conclusion, it seems that there are some reasons why each president is using or used a specific type of discourse, which is clearly addressing certain people, groups or classes that are willing to support their ideas and proposals.

About the authors

Ricardo Casañ-Pitarch

Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

Email: ricapi@upv.es
Camí de Vera, s/n, 46022 València
(PhD in Applied Linguistics) holds a MA in the English language for international trade (Business) and a BA in English Philology. He is currently an Assistant Professor at polytechnic university of Valencia (Spain). His main research interests within the field of applied linguistics are genre analysis and language acquisition. His most recent studies focus on discourse analysis and language acquisition with serious videogames

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