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16 May 2017

Trump speech analysis: What words tell us about the 45th president

It’s been almost four months since the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States of America and the Trump speech analysis is still a topic of interest. The new president’s language, choice of words, tone of voice and verbal habits are, undoubtedly, unique. Many journalists, academics and cognitive scientists are studying his linguistic choices and what they tell us about the real estate developer and reality television celebrity turned politician.

Expert System applied its cognitive software, Cogito, to analyze the president’s inaugural address at the official ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C.  on January 20, 2017. The Trump speech analysis addresses the following questions:

How would Trump’s speech be characterized from a linguistic point of view?

How does it differ from the inaugural speeches of Presidents Bush and Obama?

 

Comparing Obama, Bush and Trump speech analysis

Using Cogito, the Trump speech analysis highlights the distinguishing linguistic features of Trump’s speech, and compares them with the speeches of his two predecessors, George W. Bush in 2001 and Barack Obama in 2009, at the beginning of their terms.

Expert System’s independent text analysis of these three speeches confirms strong linguistic differences. Here is a sampling of those differences:

Trump’s inaugural address 

  • Contains fewer than 1,430 words, making it shorter than Bush’s (1,592 words) and that of Obama (2,395)
  • Uses short phrases (17 words per sentence), a feature similar to Bush (18 words per sentence) where Obama uses long sentences
  • The syntactic structure employed by Trump makes his speech easy to read and understand (by high school graduates), as was Bush’s speech, while Obama’s speech is more fit for college graduates
  • Includes standard short, common nouns, adverbs and conjunctions, but shows above average use of nouns, like his predecessors
  • Highlights “American” and “America” as relevant concepts, while Bush speaks of “country” and “story’” and Obama’s speech highlights “work” and “generation”
  • Refers to women twice, while Obama often mentioned women but Bush did not frequently refer to them
  • Like Bush and Obama, it gives great importance to “our” and “nation,” which conveys a message of unity
  • Focuses on the verb “protect” and on the concept of “dream” (Obama speaks about environment and Bush refers to justice)
  • Refers to Islamic, while Bush cites “immigrants” and Obama mentions “Muslims”
  • Focuses on the concept of protection and doesn’t cite health care
  • Frequently cites the presidential role and the commitment that it entails (“president,” “promise,” “honored,” “responsibility”)
  • Doesn’t mention other countries but refers to Nebraska and Detroit, two cities in areas where Trump received more votes
  • “Success” is the main sentiment that emerges from Trump’s address (for Bush “courage” and for Obama “hope”)

Read the full Trump speech analysis at this link


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