The study analyses the stylistic features in the “Declaration of Conscience” by Margaret Chase Smith based on the characterized language of the public speech English. The sample is a typical political speech which possesses many stylistic features of public speech. By analyzing the stylistic effect of the sample, the paper also explain the function of the stylistic features. Background
Margaret Chase Smith (December 14, 1897–May 29, 1995) was a Republican Senator from Maine, and one of the most successful politicians in Maine history. She was the first woman to be elected to both the U.S. House and the Senate, and the first woman from Maine to serve in either. She was also the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency at a major party's convention (1964 Republican Convention, won by Barry Goldwater). She was a moderate Republican, included with those known as Rockefeller Republicans. When she left office, Smith had the record as the longest-serving female senator in United States history, ranking 11th in seniority among the members of the Senate, a distinction that has not been surpassed. One of her quotes is "When people tell you that you can't do a thing you kind of like to keep trying". The “Declaration of Conscience” was a speech made by Senator Margaret Chase Smith on June 1, 1950, less than four months after Senator Joe McCarthy's infamous "Wheeling Speech". It also refers to the text of the speech itself, which was endorsed by six other moderate/liberal Republicans. In it, she criticized national leadership and called for the country, the United States Senate, and the Republican Party to re-examine the tactics used by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and (without naming him) Senator Joe McCarthy. In the speech she stated the basic principles of "Americanism". Smith strongly voiced concern that those who exercised those beliefs at that time risked being labeled communist or fascist.. Analysis
First Person Pronoun
One of the important purposes of public speech is to show the position of the speaker. In the sample speech, the frequent use of first person pronoun serves this purpose.
Figer1 Number of Personal Pronoun
Third Person Total
By using I, Smith declares her stand; and by using we, she ties herself closely to the audience, thereby gaining a responsive chord from them and creating an atmosphere of unite.
In order to be clearly heard and fully understood, public speakers tend to repeat words and sentence in their speech. Used in speech, repetition not only makes it easy for the audience to follow what the speaker is saying, but also gives a strong rhythmic quality to the speech and makes it more memorable. The use of repetition is a very outstanding stylistic feature in “Declaration of Conscience”. It helps to achieve the function of coherence in discourse and express the speaker’s strong emotion.
Same examples of repetition used:
2-1. “I speak as briefly as possible because too much harm has already been done with irresponsible words of bitterness and selfish political opportunism. I speak as briefly as possible because the issue is too great to be obscured by eloquence.” (Para.3) 2-2. “I think that it is high time for the United States Senate and its members to do some soul-searching……. I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. I think that it is high time that we remembered that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation.” (Para.8, 9) 2-3. “The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they
be politically smeared as “Communists” or “Fascists” by their opponents. …… The American people are sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared...
References: Ayeomoni, M.O. (2005) A Linguistic-Stylistic Investigation of the Language of the Nigerian Political Elite in Nebula (2.2, June 2005)
Declaration of Conscience from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Conscience
Margaret Chase Smith from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Chase_Smith
李美&曹金(2006) 从文体学视角解读公共演讲英语in US-China Foreign Language Edited by Jessica & Doris
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