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Pronoun Usage in the State of the Union Address and Weekly Addresses by Donald Trump: A Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics Approach
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the modern world of politics, convincing the audience is the key to democratically gain power in society—and the amount of power politicians gain depends on how convincing they are. In this competitive domain, elites use discourse not only to persuade the audience, but also to manipulate the audience. According to van Dijk (2006), persuasion is a legitimate and ethical way to influence the audience, while manipulation is an illegitimate and unethical way of influencing the audience. The present study examines pronoun usage in the political discourse of Donald Trump; it examines the State of the Union Speech and 37 Weekly Addresses. The quantitative approach to the data was taken by incorporating corpus linguistic methods, namely frequency counts, concordances, word list tools, and downsampling. The qualitative approach was taken by using methods from rhetoric and Critical Discourse Analysis. To analyse the examined phenomenon, the Aristotelian persuasion framework, Fairclough’s theory on the pronouns

we and you, van Dijk’s triangulation framework with its focus on manipulation, and Wieczorek’s taxonomy of speakers were used. The study concluded that in both the State of the Union Address and the Weekly Addresses, Donald Trump frequently and interchangeably uses the pronouns we and our to refer to two groups with unequal power relations to one another. The identified patterns placed within the societal context of the examined text persuade the recipients. Pronouns such as we, our, I, and they play a key role in the elements of ethos and pathos. Furthermore, the identified patterns placed within the societal context of the examined text also showed that Donald Trump uses discourse structure to use short term memory and long term memory properties to manipulate the audience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Critical Discourse Analysis, Corpus Linguistics, Persuasion, Manipulation, Political Discourse, Pronoun Use
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-28242OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-28242DiVA, id: diva2:1233711
Available from: 2018-07-19 Created: 2018-07-19

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf