Political speeches bush_obama


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Analysis of 2 political speeches - Bush's War on Terror and Obama's New Beginning

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Political speeches bush_obama

  1. 1. Political Speeches and Language
  2. 2. George Bush Barack Obama – “A New Beginning”Address to Congress 20/09/2001 Cairo University, Egypt June 4,2009 “
  3. 3. • On September 20, 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of congress, Bush launched the war on terror when he said, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."[20]• War on Terror then became an umbrella term to define the ongoing international military campaign led by the US and UK with the support of other NATO and non-NATO countries
  4. 4. Why these two speeches?• Each represents a change in paradigm, not only (or necessarily) in political approach, but certainly in discourse• Bush – beginning of the ‘Global War on Terror’ rhetoric, “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”• Obama – “A New Beginning …based upon mutual interest and mutual respect”
  5. 5. Different aims, different styles• The two speeches which were made in different geographic and historical contexts also have different aims.• Bush’s aims are to reassure his people, assert America’s strength, identify Al Qaeda as enemy and inform American people and the world that a protracted struggle against not just al Qaeda, but world terrorism as a whole, was underway.• Obama’s aims are to change relationship between US and predominantly Muslim world make bridges, change discourse paradigm, challenge stereotypes in BOTH sides of the world, and begin more open dialogue.• Obama faces many constraints in making the speech – need to maintain popularity in US at the same time as changing view of audience in M.E.Standing at the top of the genre chain they potentially transform communication at many levels below• How do they use language to achieve these aims?
  6. 6. Lexical choice• As we saw in previous workshop, lexical choice is an important indicator of speaker stance!• In the images that follow the size of the words indicates their frequency in each of the 2 speeches.• Which image was created from Bush’s speech? Obama’s?• How do their lexical choices reflect this?• What semantic categories do the most frequent words fit into?• What does this tell you about the content of their speeches and their aims? • Images on following pages created on www.wordle.net
  7. 7. Choice of Lexis
  8. 8. Word frequency and semantic fields• Bush • Obama• America and its people • People (American, Americans, • World United States, people, • Muslim/s, Islam citizens, congress…) • Geopolitics• Enemy (terrorists, terror, war, fight…)• Geopolitics (world, country, nation, leaders, Afghanistan, Taliban)
  9. 9. • The most notably absent word from Obama’s lexis is ‘terror’ – there is no reference to terrorism, terror …• Obama’s administration has made a conscious effort to not use this term officially, the phrase "Overseas Contingency Operation“ was adopted. – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2009/03/24/AR2009032402818.html
  10. 10. Content vs Function words• While content words may tell us what is said, function words (pronouns, prepositions, articles ,conjunctions) tell us about how it is said, the style of the message.• Text Analysis software has been developed to to calculate the degree to which people use different categories of words across a wide array of texts. (LIWC – Pennebaker et al. 2007) It allows you to determine the rate at which the authors/speakers use positive or negative emotion words, self-references, big words, or words that refer to various topics. It has been applied in the analysis of political speeches, in particular State of the Union speeches (http://wordwatchers.wordpress.com/ ).
  11. 11. Social emotional style• The greater use of personal pronouns, references to other people as well as higher rates of positive and negative emotion words by Bush indicates a more interpersonal style and greater appeal to emotions than Obama
  12. 12. Positive emotionality• Bush uses far more negative emotion words than Obama in his speech to Congress.• This difference can be attributed to different styles and/or different aims – Bush appeals to negative emotions to muster support for new strategy, war on terror, whilst Obama is seeking to overcome differences and build bridges, hence appeals to positive emotions.
  13. 13. Complex thinking• Certain words categories such as negation and causal words (eg. Because, cause, effect) and exclusive words (except, without, only) reflect more complex thinking or a more complex presentation of ideas.• On this dimension Obama presents greater complexity than Bush
  14. 14. Organization of speech• How is the speech organized?• What do the speakers try to do in each part of the speech?• Who do they address directly?• What rhetorical strategies do they use?
  15. 15. Bush’s speech• 1-7• 8-18• 19-20• 21• 22-37• 38• 39-43• 43• 44-59• 60• 61-66• 67• 68-75• 76-89• 90
  16. 16. Structure of Bush’s speech1-7 – addresses audience8-18 – state of the union, thanks for support19-20 remembers attack21 – Question – Americans are asking, “Who attacked our country?”22-37 – Answer – construction of enemy, instilling fear, asserting strength38 - Question – Americans are asking, “Why do they hate us?”39-43 – Answer – what they hate, want and hope43 – Question – Americans are asking, “How will we fight and win this war?”44-59 Answer - Outlining of strategy in response to attack and calling onothers’ support60 - Question – Americans are asking, “What is expected of us?”61-66 Answer – What is asked of people, what is expected of congress76 – Question/Wonder – if America’s future is one of fear77-89 – Answer future that lies ahead, resolve to remember and not forget90 – Ask for God’s blessing
  17. 17. Structure of Obama’s speech• 1• 2-4• 5-18• 19-28• 29-41• 42-45• 46-50• 51-55• 56-58• 59-65• 66-76
  18. 18. Structure of Obama’s speech• 1 - Thanks and acknowledgements• 2-4 - Past relationship• 5-18 New beginning, recognising problems, personal, historical, current positive relations• 19-28 first issue – violent extremism• 29-41 second issue – sitution between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world• 42-45 3°source of tension . Shared interest in the rig hts and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons• 46-50 fourth issue - democracy• 51-55 fifth issue – religions freedom• 56-58 sixth issue – women’s rights• 59-65 economic development and prosperity• 66-76 partnership – addresses difficulties, doubts, religious references and closing
  19. 19. Bush addresses:• Mr Speaker, Mr President Pro Tempore, members of Congress and fellow Americans (p.1)• Andy you did more than sing, You acted (all of America p.19)• I thank the world …(p.11, 12,13,14,15)• Great Britain and prime minister – Thank you for coming, friend (p.18)• Taliban – And tonight the US makes the following demands on the Taliban … (p.30)• Muslims ..We respect your faith (p.33)• Americans are asking … (p.38, 60)• The military … Be ready (p.52)• Congress … I thank you for what you have already done and for what we will do together (p.68, 69, 70…)
  20. 20. Obama addresses:• (but without using pronoun ‘you’)• Al-Azhar, Cairo University, people of Egypt (p.1)• The issue of Iraq (p.25)• Palestinians (p.35) The Palestinian Authority, Hamas• Israelis (p.37)• The Arab states (p.39)• Iran• women
  21. 21. Important featuresLexical choicesFunctional words and styleStructure of speech – how accomplishes aimRhetorical devices:ClaptrapsList of threeContrastive pairsUse of imageryIntertextuality, religions referencesHumanising, personal references
  22. 22. Soundbites and Claptraps• Soundbites are short extracts from speeches or interviews chosen because of their impact• Speeches are pre-distributed to press with carefully engineered soundbites, hoping these will get attention• Success of the soundbite depends on audience reaction, whether it generates applause• “a trick, device of language designed to catch applause” (Atkinson 1984)
  23. 23. • Look at the applause indicated in the two speeches – what ‘claptraps’ do the two presidents use to generate applause?
  24. 24. Obama claptraps• Use of Arabic• References to the Koran• Positive references to Islam or diplomacy towards Muslim world• References to cooperation, sharing• Policy statements (withdraw Iraq, close Guantanamo, two-state solution for Israel- Palestine, women’s rights …)
  25. 25. Bush claptraps• Thanking individuals and nations• Talking about unity• Showing America’s strength and resolve – Demands not open to negotiation, it will not end until.. We’re not going to allow it, we will not fail.• Condemning Taliban
  26. 26. Repetition and the importance of three• Repetition is characteristic of speeches and helps get message across and hold speech together• One of the most common means of eliciting approval is the use of the ‘list of three’ which in certain cultures is seen to give a sense of unity and completeness• It can be simple repetition: – Maggie, Maggie, Maggie – Out, out, out
  27. 27. It can also comprise slight modifications, contrasts, different words with a similar meaning:• Winston Churchill, 1940 Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few• Nelson Mandela - 1990 – Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans. I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.
  28. 28. • Find examples of the use of three in the two speeches.• Which do you find to be particularly effective?
  29. 29. Bush• We have seen.. We have seen … we have seen (p. 3, 4, 5)• We will not forget … we will not forget … nor will we forget (p. 13, 14, 5)• This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom. (p.54)• We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail. (p.81)• I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this this struggle …(p.88)
  30. 30. Obama• As a boy… As a young man … As a student of history (p. 7, 8)• We were born … we were founded … we are shaped (p.11)• That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest and the world’s interest (p.34)
  31. 31. Pronoun use and responsibility• First person singular: I/me/myself/mine• First person plural: we/us/ourselves/oursPoliticians often use a mixture of singular and plural pronouns, but analysing which ones they use, and where, can give considerable insight into what they are saying and how they want it to be viewed.• Singular forms show a clear sense of personal involvement on the part of the speaker• Plural pronoun – shares responsibility, can be used to show the politician is in touch with the country, the rest of the world, shows involvement (Obama – “Yes we can”)
  32. 32. “Us” and “them”• Polarization is : “concentration about opposing extremes of groups or interests formerly ranged on a continuum” (M-W) -- Us and Them, the right way and the wrong way.• One of the most fundamental ways of framing political polarization is "Left vs. Right.“• President George W. Bush, in an address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001 said, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
  33. 33. • Which pronouns predominate in the two speeches? What is the effect of this?• Who ‘we’ refers to can change in the course of a speech – look at Obama’s use of ‘we’, how do its terms of reference change during the speech?
  34. 34. Contrastive Pairs or AntithesisFigure of balance in which two contrasting ideas are intentionally juxtaposed, usually through parallel structure; a contrasting of opposing ideas in adjacent phrases, clauses, or sentences.• "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" -- Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream• "The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." -- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address• Okay, Im going to step off the LEM now. Thats one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind." -- Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 Moon Landing Speech
  35. 35. Bush – contrastive pairs• Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done• US respects the people of Afghanistan … but we condemn the Taliban regime• They stand against us because we stand in their way• Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists (p.48)• This is not, however, just America’s fight. And what is at stake is not just America’s freedom ((p.54)• I thank my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will do (p.67)
  36. 36. Obama• The interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart (p.6)• These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with (p.21)• We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity• That’s not how moral authority is claimed, that’s how it is surrendered (p.35)• You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion.• The Internet and Television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence into the home. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, bu also huge disruptions and change in communities.• It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than look inward. It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. (p.70)
  37. 37. Intercultural Competence• Ban Ki Moon said “President Obama`s speech is a crucial step in bridging divides and promoting intercultural understanding”• Many models of intercultural competence, Obama is great example.• Byram’s model (1997) of Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) identifies different types of knowledge necessary for ICC
  38. 38. Knowledge: of social groups and their products and practices in one’s own and one’s interlocutor’s country Knowledge of the historical and contemporary relationships between one’s own and one’s interlocutor Knowledge of causes of misunderstanding Knowledge of national memories of one’s own and interlocutor’s country
  39. 39. Skills of interpreting and relating• Ability to identify ethnocentric perspectives• Ability to identify areas of misunderstanding and explain them in terms of the cultural systems present• Ability to mediate between conflicting interpretations of phenomena• Ability to identify areas of common ground• Ability to identify contemporary and past relationships between the cultures
  40. 40. Attitude of openness• Willingness to engage with otherness in a relationship of equality• Willingness to question the presuppositions and values in cultural practices and products in one’s own environment
  41. 41. Critical cultural awareness• Ability to identify and interpret implicit and explicit values in events• Awareness of his/her own perspectives and values and influence of these• Recognition of other perspectives and ideologies• Awareness of potential conflict between own and others’ ideologies• Acceptance of difference