"Yes, we can!" - Linguistic Strategies within Political Campaigns in the USA

Abstract

This paper examines to what extent the persuasion processes of politicians interact with the chosen language of the given speeches. It is investigated what kind of language, methods, and rhetorical devices politicians use to address their audience. Furthermore, a connection between the audiences, their experience, and the intended message delivered by the speaker is established. The paper is based on an examination of the inauguration speeches given by George W. Bush (2000, 2004) and his successor Barack Obama (2008, 2014). The research is based on a political discourse analysis which includes the use of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Findings include that both speakers make use of metaphorical expression, categorized into the 'Moral Accounting Metaphor' - used by the Republican George W. Bush - and the 'Life is a Journey Metaphor' - implemented by the Democrat Barack Obama. Based on the results of this linguistic research, a conclusion is drawn whether a distinct difference is present between the two US American parties or not.

 

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