On Discourse Analysis, Looking at a Sample of Spoken Discourse fr...

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On Discourse Analysis, Looking at a Sample of Spoken Discourse from Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Conference Presentation.

By | May 2013
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On Discourse Analysis, looking at a sample of spoken discourse from Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Conference Presentation.

In this paper I aim to apply different methods of discourse analysis to a selected extract of transcribed language. I have chosen to transcribe a speech given by the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Firstly, to briefly outline the context, the speech was given during the Democratic National Convention in September 2012, in the run up to the presidential election in which her husband, Barack Obama is rallying for re-election. Michelle is introduced by Elaine Brye, a ‘fellow mom’ and what’s more, ‘military mom’ of 5 sons, four of whom cover all of the American forces. Byre appropriately asks “What’s a mom like me doing in a place like this? I’m not even a political person!” She talks of her children as treasures, of how the Obama family have supported military families, and of how her and Michelle can relate ‘mom to mom’. This introduction sets the scene for what Michelle is about to talk about, giving rise to the topics of ‘ordinary-ness’, the stories of rags-to-riches, and the duty of ‘being mom-in-chief’, all of which appeals to the audience of American people. Michelle’s language has visible aims to make them feel united, empowered, proud, and hopeful. Michelle walks in wearing a cerise pink dress, waving and laughing and thanking the crowd for their applause, she is evidently humbled by the audience’s applause and cheer. There is also an apt choice of music by Stevie Wonder; with the lyrics “signed sealed delivered, I’m yours” this with a subtle, playful message perhaps hinting to their confidence in winning this election, given the physical acts of sealing and delivering a vote on election day, and of her husband ‘signing up’ for his new term in office. Michelle finally begins by thanking Elaine Brye, and uses the collective ‘we’, “We are so grateful for your family’s service and sacrifice, and we will always...
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