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Stylistic Analysis Approach to Barack Obama’s Oratorical Speeches
Sultanbekova S.A., master of pedagogical sciences, senior lecturer
Zhilkibayeva I.M., 3rd year student of the department of translation, Kazakh Humanities and Law University (Astana), Kazakhstan
Annotation: This article deals with stylistic peculiarities of the American president Barack Obama’s speeches as the oratorical speech. The article reveals a great importance of stylistic devices in oratory speech.
Key words: rhetoric, stylistic device, political style, oratory speech
Political activity always played a special role in lives of society. The country place depends on a certain political position or a situation on the international scene, its relationship with other states, its role in activity of the world community. However an important role in determination of image of the country is played by a way of its presentation political leaders of this state. By means of performances of policy have opportunity to address both to the international community, and to citizens of the country.
The political rhetoric is not a new subject for researches in the sphere of language. Modern communication becomes more and more mass, more and more qualitative. The increased interest in rhetoric, emergence of new canons of public statements, huge number of educational literature where professionals impart own experience of creation of speeches is explained by it. As researchers note, in political texts it is almost impossible to find any phonetic, morphological and syntactic phenomena which are absent in other subsystems of national language. It isn't surprising, after all to be understood by the people, politicians have to speak public language.
The aim of this article is to define stylistic peculiarities of the USA president Barack Obama’s speech. In order to achieve the set aim we attempted to solve the following tasks:
· We highlighted the oratorical style and relations between oratory speech and stylistic devices.
· In order to observe these relations in practice we considered Barack Obama’s oratorical speeches. Therefore, texts of official speeches of the American president Barack Obama served as the material of this research.
Methodological basis of this research is methods of observation, description and statistical analysis.
The general aim of the publicist style is to exert influence on public opinion, to convince the reader or the listener that the interpretation given by the writer or the speaker is the only correct one and to cause him to accept the point of view expressed in the speech, essay or article not merely by logical argumentation, but by emotional appeal as well. The oratorical style of the language is the oral subdivision of the publicist style. Persuasion is the most obvious purpose of oratory. Direct contact with the listener permits a combination of the syntactical, lexical and phonetic peculiarities of both the written and spoken varieties of language. But in its leading features oratorical style belongs to the written variety of language, though it is modified by the oral form of utterance and the use of gestures. This style is evident in speeches on political and social problems of the day in orations and addresses on solemn occasions6 in parliamentary debates6 at meetings and in election campaigns.
A stylistic device is a particular characteristic of a text that makes it distinctive in some way. «Stylistic device can include such things as character, settings, language techniques, plot, use of colour, subject matter or particular musical instruments used» by F.Pollock. In literature and writing, stylistic device is the use of any of a variety techniques to give an auxiliary meaning, idea, or feeling to the literal or written.
The stylistic devices employed in the oratorical style are determined by the conditions of communication. If the desire of the speaker is to rouse the audience and to keep it in suspense, he will use various traditional stylistic devices. Stylistic devices are closely interwoven and mutually complementary thus building up an intricate pattern. For example, an antithesis is framed by parallel constructions, which, in their turn, are accompanied by repetition, while a climax can be formed by repetitions of different kinds.
In recent years because of development of political linguistics, linguistic researches of speeches of politicians became actual. Our paper is devoted to studying official speeches of the American president Barack Obama. In this paper for the stylistic analysis approach to the American president Barack Obama’s oratorical speeches we analyzed 10 official speeches.
In his speeches the president uses such stylistic device as anaphor based on repetition of any speech phenomenon. It is one of the most often used stylistic device in his speech. This figure increases persuasiveness of the speech: «You have enriched my life, you have moved me again and again. You have inspired me. All of us proud. All of us patriots. All of us salute this flag». (County, Virginia November 3, 2008 Night Before the Election). «On this day, we gather… On this day, we come to proclaim an end…». (Obama Inaugural address 20th January 2009). «It's a dream shared in… It's the dream of the father... It's the dream of the woman... It's the dream of the…», «It's a game where lobbyists… It's a game where trade... It's a game where Democrats... It's a game where the only way for Democrats...» (Potomac Primary Night Madison, WI February 12, 2008). «This country is more decent than one... This country is more generous than one » (The American Promise Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008 ). «This time we want to talk... . This time we want to talk about ... . This time we want to talk about the men» (A More Perfect Union “The Race Speech” Philadelphia, PA March 18, 2008).
Also the list of often used devices includes the antithesis. Antithesis is when two points of sharp contrast set one against the other, generally in parallel constructions... «We were up and when we were down» (North Carolina Primary Night Raleigh, NC May 6, 2008). «It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled …» We have also observed the antithesis is often used in his speeches. For example: young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black and white etc. «For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness» (Election Night Victory Speech Grant Park, Illinois November 4, 2008). «It's a dream shared in big cities and small towns» (Potomac Primary Night Madison, WI February 12, 2008). «Our government should work for us, not against us.», «You make a big election about small things.» (The American Promise Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008). «...until this black church, on this bright day» (A More Perfect Union “The Race Speech” Philadelphia, PA March 18, 2008).
Enumeration is often revealed in the president Barack Obama’s oratory. «Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors» (The American Promise Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008). «the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free», «We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed…» (Obama Inaugural address 20th January 2009). «Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had ...» (A More Perfect Union “The Race Speech” Philadelphia, PA March 18, 2008). «... invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.» (The American Promise Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008)
The president’s speeches are also characterized with climax (gradation).One of the type of climax that based on the components relative logical importance is logical. This type of climax is used in his speeches. «And if a voice can change a room, it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it can change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world » (County, Virginia November 3, 2008 Night Before the Election). « … that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world » (Obama Inaugural address 20th January 2009). «American people can count on Social Security today, tomorrow and forever » (Potomac Primary Night Madison, WI February 12, 2008). «... and for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet …» (The American Promise Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008). «We say; we hope; we believe - yes we can.» (March 4th Primary Night Texas and Ohio San Antonio, TX March 4, 2008).
Parallel construction is similar syntactical structure in two or more successive sentences/clauses. Analyzing the president’s speeches we also noticed that parallelism also often takes place in his speeches. «… that we can choose not to be divided; that we can choose not to be afraid; that we can still choose this moment to finally come together» (North Carolina Primary Night Raleigh, NC May 6, 2008). «The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood » (Obama Inaugural address 20th January 2009). «The streets are emptier. The schools suffer.» (AP Annual Luncheon Washington , DC April 14, 2008). «We were told this wasn't possible. We were told the climb was too steep. » (March 4th Primary Night Texas and Ohio San Antonio, TX March 4, 2008).
Rhetorical question is one more characteristics of his speeches. «A nation of
whiners?», «What is that promise?», «Out of work? No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? » (The American Promise Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008). «Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Why not join another church? » (A More Perfect Union “The Race Speech” Philadelphia, PA March 18, 2008)
Epithet is one of the most often used device in any oratory speech, including B. Obama’s speech. Epithet is an unusual description of phenomenon. «… to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds » (Obama Inaugural address 20th January 2009). «… lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours » (Obama Inaugural address 20th January 2009). «I'm a person of deep faith » (AP Annual Luncheon Washington, DC April 14, 2008).
Making the statistical analysis on the base of The American president 10 speeches we can come to a conclusion and identify commonly used stylistic devices by means of items found in texts. We have placed these devices in order by their frequency of usage: 1)Enumeration; 2)Anaphor; 3)Antithesis; 4)Climax; 5)Parallel construction; 6) Rhetorical question; 7)Epithet;
Why are these devices? What role they play in the oratory? Maybe because of using these devices, speech becomes more expressive, colourful and makes oratory speech more convincingly. Enumeration is when homogeneous parts of an utterance put together to be made semantically heterogeneous.Using this stylistic device the president made it clear to his people the sequence of his actions,that the state makes a useful series of actions to the people,and it shows the endless work of the president and the government. Anaphora is one of the most often used stylistic device. Obama uses this type repetition to affect listeners, to make the speech of more convincing, to accent that he has to become a president and all above problems will be solved as far as possible. The following stylistic device is the antithesis. Using the antithesis the president compares two opposite aspects, thereby shows that these two contrasts have no differs from each other that anyway if there is the Asian or the American, black or white, rich or poor, men or women - president and the government will solve certain problems.Climax is a sentence arrangement, in which each following word/word combination is logically more important and emotionally stronger. Using climax speaker focuses on increasing phenomenon, he makes clear the importance of the phenomenon. By this way he begins to convince, this is one way of persuasion. Parallel construction as we mentioned is similar syntactical structure of sentences. This method adds balance and rhythm to sentences and thus can be persuasive because of the repetition it employs. Parallelism is used by Obama in different ways to impress upon the readers in order to convey messages or moral lessons. Rhetorical question is the question which isn't demanding the answer, and the employee for the emotional statement or denial something. Also the president uses rhetorical questions in the speech to draw attention of listeners, to reveal your point of view.
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