Analysing Obama Speech

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Obama speech essay

Introduction: 3-5 sentences

Who is the audience of Obama’s speech, and what is its purpose? Therefore, in what context does he deliver this speech? How much control does Obama have when adjusting his spoken language? -Aimed to persuade people to vote for him.

- Obama Initially an underdog
- Aimed to connect with audience while still remaining authoritative - Controls figurative message through use of spoken language techniques

Analysis: 5 paragraphs, each at least 5 sentences
You need to pick out points thematically. That is, you need not progress chronologically through the speech (although it might be useful for some.) Also, you should avoid merely analysing a different technique in each paragraph. Yes, you must analyse different techniques particular to spoken language – this is always rooted in the context of the language, though. What I mean by ‘rooted in the context’ is that the technique must specifically be applied to what is being said. Therefore, repetition doesn’t just emphasise what is being said – the repetition of ‘yes we can’ creates a positive anthem that sustains the examples of how negative situations have been overcome, for example.

1) Extract begins with how Obama takes the audience into his confidence (although this was not the beginning of the speech) – refers to personal pronoun “we know” and audience interaction.

- Obama infers how party are underdogs
- Why use militaristic language?
- eye contact (and pause) with audience on “we know”
- Who is the ‘we’ in this phrase?
- Wants to align audience with him

2) Continuing Obama’s appeal to be highly personal with audience, he makes a reference to slavery (perhaps to pre-empt potential negative reactions to his colour?) – refers to figurative language and paralinguistic feature of hand gesture.

- Obama would be first black president
- hand gesture is most pronounced of speech during ‘the darkest of nights’ - wants colour to be perceived as a...
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