|Type of paper:
|Information technologies Software Languages
Presidential debates constitute a crucial section in the political campaign to acquire citizens' votes. Political aspirants apply their approaches to convince the public via spoken language that permits citizens to understand their real personalities. The project is aimed at identifying and analyzing lexical devices applied in 2016 speeches of Hilary Clinton and Trump through digital assessment of representative linguistic characteristics. The project hypothesis is established on the belief that each aspirant utilizes different conversation techniques since each one reflects a varying personality to convince the audience. Therefore, the project aims at informing styles adopted by Trump and Clinton, such as conceptual metaphors, interruptions, personal pronouns, equivocations, contrastive pairs, and a three-part list as identified via digital tools.
To comprehend a particular speech, lexical devices are connoted to extract the overall meaning. Lexical cohesion is a way of choosing related words to connect text elements. There are two kinds of lexical devices, including collocation and repetition (Popova et al., 2018). The latter applies the same phrase, antonyms, and synonyms, among others. Such devices are mainly used by politicians who are seeking votes to convince the public. They help the audience to understand a specific speech or text delivered by a political aspirant. Also, the devices help better to understand the main characters of a political aspirant.
One exciting aspect of lexical devices is to apply them for predicting individuals' ideologies, beliefs, and opinions based on their articles, social media texts, books, and speeches. The main advantage of lexical device analysis is to close the gap existing between qualitative and quantitative text analyses as political material (Popova et al., 2018). They develop units that are both coherent and robust to enhance detailed coverage and support interpretation. Tools used for lexical analysis are based on computer programming.
Computer programs such as yacc, lex, regular expression library str., and streams are some of the digital tools applied in the lexical analysis of speech and text (Popova et al., 2018). All languages comprise of grammar and vocabulary items (lexicon) describing various ways they are combined to establish larger items (syntax). Therefore, for software to effectively process a language, it must follow precise syntactic and lexical rules. Such programs have been utilized to identify lexical devices applied in Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton's campaign speeches.
Data Collection and Analysis
The campaign speeches of the two candidates were arranged in several presidential debates. The first debate occurred at New York's Hofstra on 26th September 2016, and the two aspirants were put in front of the interviewer. Trump and Clinton spoke for 45 minutes and 41 minutes, respectively. They both addressed the most controversial affairs, such as nuclear weapons, racism, cyber-attacks, and economic improvement (Liang & Liu, 2016). They also expressed the politician's opinions concerning the possible election outcomes. The interviewer was the only person who asked questions, and the audience was not permitted to talk or applaud.
The second debate was held in St. Louis at Washington University on 9th October 2016. Unlike the first debate, there were two interviewers, and it lasted for 90 minutes (Argina, 2018). Clinton expressed her ideas for 39 minutes while Trump took 40 minutes. In contrast, people and the audience were allowed to ask questions via social media platforms. Therefore, the two candidates talked about numerous various topics that concerned the majority of citizens. They discussed refugees, the war in Syria, islamophobia, the economy, and their past mistakes. Also, each candidate was described why he/she was the best than the other.
The third presidential debate was conducted in Las Vegas at Nevada University on 19th October 2016. Only one interview was lasting for 93 minutes, with Clinton speaking for 41 minutes while Trump spoke for 35 minutes (Argina, 2018). Topics addressed were immigration, the war in Syria, abortion, cyber-attack, and the economy. Like the first debate, questions were only asked by the interviewer as the audience remained silent.
Visualization and Interpretation
In the three presidential debates, Clinton and Trump made use of the seven lexical devices. The percentage of various linguistic characteristics is calculated upon proper and personal pronouns, conceptual metaphors, fillers, contrastive pairs, and three-part lists, taking into consideration the number of words spoken by each candidate. Trump expresses a perception of the U.S. economy through a conceptual metaphor - "Economy is Motion." He applies this kind of lexical device to describe the American economic condition as a downturn. A statement reinforces his phrase, "and we cannot permit it to occur anymore" (Akbar & Abbas, 2019). The 'we' pronoun is a lexical device involving the authority and himself.
Moreover, equivocations are applied by Trump when the interviewer inquires about a mistake he made previously. Instead of replying directly to the question, he provides the efforts he made. Additionally, he reveals Hillary's efforts and himself, thus utilizing a structural conceptual metaphor - "Politicians are Soldiers." Another lexical device identified via the digital tools in Trump's speech is the use of fillers. He starts his intervention with the phrase well operates as an interaction and disclosure marker signal. The word - well assists him in launching his topic digression but portrays that he has not completely prepared the past question.
Therefore, he requires to place his thoughts into phrases and speak a persuading reply. Donald illustrates the greatness of America in optimistic terms by applying the phrase "Great is Good." The phrase is an orientation conceptual metaphor. Consequently, a three-part list device is involved by repeating the exclusive "be going to" and "we to insist on Trump's ability to make the U.S.A great" (Novi et al., 2019). Moreover, Trump praises his power by criticizing Hilary's previous failures as a senator. He condemns Clinton's actions to reveal her pessimistic representation.
On the other hand, Clinton started her speech with two conceptual metaphors to get the audience's attention. She applies for works like "Future is a Building" and "A Country is a Person." The latter functions as an ontological conceptual metaphor since Clinton personifies the nation. The phrase is also applied as a plural pronoun of the first person with an inclusive role since it involves Clinton and the entire country.
Afterward, the aspirant uses the words - Economy is a Building as a structural conceptual metaphor to indicate that community economic resources management is linked to construction concepts to connote the challenging assembly of various issues. As a result, a contrastive pair is realized "work for all and not just at the top" (Novi et al., 2019). The expression offers Clinton's bold belief to offer underprivileged social classes a chance in America. The sense of unity is also attained with the 3-part list: new jobs, better jobs, with high incomes.
Furthermore, she remarks on the essentials of the debates to the public and the audience by including Trump and herself in the same position ("we tonight present ourselves on stage together"). She identifies Trump with his full name to employ the exclusive we with a reference of anaphoric involving her opponent and herself (Popova et al., 2018). Moreover, she utilizes the second individual pronoun 'you' to indicate the role of active citizens towards the election because they are the ones to determine the next president. Unlike Trump, Clinton accepts to lose the election and reinforces election outcomes by using a contrastive pair with the verbs lose and win. The contrastive pair is, in fact, a tautology since, in every battle, there is always a loser and a winner.
Contrary to Donald's response concerning projecting an image to U.S. younger generation, Clinton reveals her viewpoint by applying the individual pronoun I and appealing to different ethnic groups in the country. She also criticizes Trump by describing him as a disloyal businessman. She considers the economy as an affair of all citizens. Therefore, the 'we' pronoun portrays an inclusive role involving not only the authority but the entire nation. Moreover, the 'he' pronoun possesses a reference of anaphoric referring to the proper identity of Trump.
In conclusion, the project depicts lexical devices applied in Trump and Clinton's campaign speeches through digital tools. The devices identified include a three-part list, conceptual metaphors, interruptions, personal pronouns, equivocations, and contrastive pairs. Through the application of devices, the project hypothesis is confirmed in the analysis of presidential speeches. Indeed, Clinton and Donald speak and act differently since their ideologies lie in various principles even though they have a common goal to achieve. It is noted that Trump applies more of individual pronouns with the focus of attacking his opponent and campaigning for his position. On the other hand, Clinton uses personal pronouns to defend her opinion. She avoids assuming the entire responsibility but instead shares it with citizens and the government.
Akbar, N. F., & Abbas, N. F. (2019). Negative other-representation in American political speeches. International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(2), 113. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v9n2p113
Argina, A. W. (2018). Presupposition and campaign rhetoric, a comparative analysis of Trump and Hillary's first campaign speech. International Journal of English and Literature, 8(3), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.24247/ijeljun20181
Liang, R., & Liu, Y. (2016). An analysis of presupposition triggers in Hilary Clinton's first campaign speech. International Journal of English Linguistics, 6(5), 68. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v6n5p68
Novi, A., Fitriati, S. W., & Sutopo, D. (2019). The Comparison Between Evaluative Stance of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Realized in the Campaign Speeches of the United States Presidential Election 2016. English Education Journal, 9(1), 25-33. http://journal.unnes.ac.id/sju/index.php/eej
Popova, O. V., Prikhodko, N. A., & Spasskaja, A. (2018). Concatenation of grammatical and lexical components in the political discourse of the USA. Filologicni traktati, 10(2), 83-89. https://doi.org/10.21272/ftrk.2018.10(2)-11
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