Application of Interpersonal Meaning in Hillary’s and Trump’s Election Speeches

Kuang Ping, Liu Lingling

Abstract


Presidential election speeches, as one significant part of western political life, deserve people’s attention. This paper focuses on the use of interpersonal meaning in political speeches. The nine texts selected from the Internet are analyzed from the perspectives of mood, modality, personal pronoun and tense system based on the theory of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar. It aims to study the way how interpersonal meaning is realized through language by making the contrastive analysis of the speeches given by Hillary and Trump. After making a minute analysis, the paper comes to the following conclusions: (1) As for mood, Trump and Hillary mainly employ the declarative to deliver messages and make statements, and imperative is used to motivate the audiences and narrow the gap between the candidates and the audiences, and interrogative is to make the audiences concentrate on the content of the speeches. (2) With respect to the modality system, the median modal operator holds the dominant position in both Trump’s and Hillary’s speeches to make the speeches less aggressive. In this aspect, Trump does better than Hillary. (3) In regard to personal pronoun, the plural form of first personal pronoun is mainly employed by the two candidates to close the relationship with audiences. (4) Regards to tense system, simple present tense are mostly used to establish the intimacy of the audiences and the candidates. Then two influential factors are discussed. One is their personal background and the other is their language levels. This paper is helpful for people to deeply understand the two candidates’ language differences.

Keywords


systemic functional grammar; interpersonal metafunction; presidential election speeches; mood system; modality system; personal pronoun system; tense system

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.6p.28

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