4.2 Comparison of the Rhetorical Styles of George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Topics: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, President of the United States Pages: 177 (58096 words) Published: May 2, 2011
1. Introduction2
2. Theoretical Part4
2 Discourse Analysis and Political Rhetoric4
2 Political Speeches6

3. Changes in the Threat to the United States12
3 New International Environment after the Cold War12 3 Significant Events in International Relations Representing the Threat to the United States14

4. Practical Part20
4 Corpus under Investigation and Methods of Analysis20 4 General Comparison of the Rhetorical Styles of George W. Bush

and Barack Obama22

4 Basic parameters22
4 Analysis of keywords28
4 Significant Aspects in the Speeches of George W. Bush and Barack


4 Rhetorical style of George W. Bush and the perception of threat34 4 Bush's Inaugural Address34
4 Bush's 9/11 Address37
4 Bush's UN Address39
4 Bush's State of the Union Address42

4 Rhetorical style of Barack Obama and the perception of threat49 5 Obama's Inaugural Address49
6 Obama's 9/11 Address51
7 Obama's UN Address52
4 Obama's State of the Union Address56
4 Comparison of Threat Perception by George W. Bush and Barack


4 Threat perception in the speeches of George W. Bush59 4 Threat perception in the speeches of Barack Obama62 4 Common characteristics64
4 Different characteristics65

5. Conclusion69
6. Abstract72
7. References73
8. Appendices75
A.Speeches of G. W. Bush75
B.Speeches of Barack Obama96
1 Introduction

Since the time the first languages have been created, language has been the most important tool to express one's ideas and to influence others. The written form of a language can never be as persuasive as its oral counterpart. This is particularly true in politics - an ordinary voter does not spend hours and hours reading political programs; however, he or she may accidentally see a politician talking about his or her beliefs, visions or a political program on the television. This may have an impact on the voter and on his/her decision during the elections. It is up to the speaker to choose words carefully and to use body language to emphasize what is said. Although information about a forthcoming peacekeeping mission in an African state for which a politician needs to obtain money from a parliament may in itself be important and interesting, when told in a monotonous voice without intonation the cause will hardly raise any interest and support. On the other hand a speech delivered enthusiastically with an adequate use of gestures and facial expressions, and also with appropriate intonation, may raise not only money for the cause, but also new supporters for the particular politician.

There is also a difference between a speech delivered by a local politician talking about sewerage repair in a city and a prime minister or a president talking about threat to national security. The top politicians need to be very careful about what they say because the whole world is listening and one incautious word may have disastrous consequences.

In this thesis I will focus on speeches delivered by two U.S. Presidents at the beginning of their terms of office. However, as the focus is on the linguistic aspects of the speeches I will not consider the use of gestures, facial expressions or intonation. Four types of speeches will be analyzed - the Inaugural Address, speeches connected to the events of September 11, 2001, the first UN Address and the State of the Union Address.

The main focus of the thesis is to analyze and compare how perception of threat is expressed in...
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