The topic of the term paper is “The individual style of Barack Obama”.
The aim of this term paper is studying the peculiarities of the individual style of the American president Barack Obama.
In order to attain the set aim it is necessary to solve the following tasks:
- study the literary sources and systematize knowledge in relation to the notion of individual style as a form of realization of certain language by the individual;
- consider the peculiarities of using the individual styles for the target effect on the audience;
- reveal the peculiarities of the individual style of Barack Obama according to the results of content-analysis;
- detect the syntactic and stylistic peculiarities of the individual style of Barack Obama;
- analyze the individual style of the American president as a means of reflection of the social picture of the events in modern America and the world.
The subject of study is the individual style in political discourse.
The object of study is political speeches of Barack Obama.
The material of study includes theoretical and practical materials on the topic of study and scripts of the speeches of the American president Barack Obama.
The results of study show that the speech is decisive factor in disclosing the individual character of a person.
The language personality a priori is a representative of some ethnic groups; its thinking is formed under the pressure of centuries-old national-cultural traditions and ideological preferences dominating in the society. Any person primarily is a part of the national language culture, as in its verbal behaviour it will represent itself as a lot of people usually do. Each language personality creates its own individual style that it nothing else as the common language represented in the individual’s consciousness. The individual style is formed during the whole life. It is the dynamic and static at the same time: the most often repeated models of speech behaviour are fixed, creating constant speech practices.
The individual style as an author’s constituent is an aggregate of language expressive means, which perform aesthetic function and separate the language of an individual person among them. In the other words, the individual style is a system of meaningful and formal linguistic characteristics, peculiar to the works of separate person, which makes the way of language expression unique.
The speech is a decisive factor in the disclosure of individuality of a personality. At the study of an individual style such properties of the language as a creative character, functional direction and role in the reflection of the individual world vision are the most important ones. The speech bears the trace of individual views, conceptions, experiences, valuable orientations and personal signs, which are genetically, culturally and socially determined. This determines orientation of the researchers of an individual style taking into account the extralinguistic and culturological factors of speech generation and perception.
The performances of political leaders always were the object of proper attention of the researchers. According to the institutional discourse it is possible to judge properly about stereotypes, opinions and views dominating in one or other time. Namely this type of discourse fixes the intellectual frameworks formed and acknowledged officially, in accordance with which the surrounding world is recognized and described. The specificity of discourse of personality manifestation is topical for the modern politician, as the latter one is perceived, first of all, as the language personality, and then as a real acting social leader. Finally, the success of his career owns depends on the degree of the speech self-control and ability to take into account the communicative situation. Undoubtedly, this communicative behaviour of the language personality of charismatic leaders of all times and peoples represent the inexhaustible means of effect on the audience and serve the lesson for the modern political figures.
In the modern political discourse the author serves not only as an individual, operating objective information, but as the language personality, which possesses the language individuality and interprets the political activity as a result of independent reality understanding.
The political language is extraordinary specific that is conditioned by the very nature. The political language is distinguished from the ordinary things generally that is characterized by the following signs.
Obama openly positions himself as the fierce opponent of war in Iraq, contradicting this war campaign to the war generally, calling it dull and reckless: I don’t oppose all wars… What I am opposed to is a dumb war. The speech of a politician wasn’t so convincing, if he didn’t appeal to the actual data: As a result, the gas mileage of cars doubled from 14 miles per gallon in 1976 to 27.5 mpg for cars in 1985. As it is known from the history Barack Obama was the first dark-skin president. Probably, namely because of this, the issues of racial discrimination or racial belonging are raised in his speeches especially at the beginning of presidency. Barack Obama uses antonyms in order to show this contrast.
The connections of antonyms serve one of the most important species of the systematic-semantic relations between the language units. The antonyms represent the general semiotic phenomenon. Any system has the pair of signs, connected with the relations of oppositions: I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas.
First of all, it should be noted that Obama skilfully uses the autobiography in the texts of his speeches. Thus, there is some biographic reference in Obama’s speeches against war in Iraq, when Obama mentions about his grandfather, who also fought for the benefit of freedom and democracy. Emphasizing that the grandfather didn’t fight in vain, in comparison with further soldiers, Obama reinforces his opposition: my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place: America, which stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before. Barack Obama uses the terms, which emphasize the heroism of American nation, the readiness of each American citizen to sacrifice his life: Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.
Thus, Barack Obama widely uses pronouns we and our, in order to show the unanimity of nation: We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.
As the speech of a politician covers information about the other countries, in the individual style of Obama there are terms determining the other countries and other geographical realities: In the United States, the drought we experienced in 2002 was the worst in forty years.
Obama is very optimistic, he gives ordinary Americans what they need presently – hope for the better future and calls people to believe that all is in their hands: John Kerry calls on us to hope. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a tire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores.
The speech behaviour of Obama speaks about variety of ways and methods, used in the process of discourse by him. He showed himself not only as an eloquent politician, which possess the gift of persuasion and is able to fire anyone, but also demonstrated his political views, forcing the audience to believe in the rightness and sincerity of his convictions. Obama uses his autobiographical data and sociocultural context especially skilfully.
The individual style includes speech skills of a speaker, realized in the choice of language means at communication. The individual style is simultaneously the style of language and the style of speech. Obama’s discourse owns the whole range of peculiarities, which provide the popularity of a politician. Obama’s speech has a lot of lexical units with negative evaluative semantic meanings, directed against war in Iraq. Also his speeches contain words and word-combinations typical for the political area. Obama uses terms and expressions concerning the important problems of life and well-being of the society, war issues etc. The syntactic and stylistic peculiarities of Obama’s speech include predominantly simple sentences, metaphors and metonymies, rhetorical issues, comparisons etc. Frequently Obama speeches contain emphatic structures, because his target audience is people, and politician must distinctly focus attention on the main points of his appeals, in order to attract listeners’ attention and make perception of information better. Among the most used means of emphasis there is such phenomenon as clefting in Obama’s speeches. In order to focus attention on certain information, the sentence with clefting is divided into two parts. Consequently, the main functions of this construction are separation, explanation and contrast. The president uses clefting in order to attract attention to the main points of his speeches.
In relation to the syntactic structure, Obama’s speeches are characterized by using simple sentences. A lot of complex sentences are either formally simple, or the main sentence doesn’t bear considerable informational loading, but only introduces the subordinate sentence. Such sentences are easier perceived, and create visibility of thinking with the following conclusion. They have appealing and confirmative character. The similar simplification of the syntactic structure of modern political speech is connected with general tendencies of the language development and effect of mass media and advertisement language on it: That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.
Thus, the manipulative strategies of Obama’s president discourse evidences about possession of ancient rhetorical ways and principles, in particular, about understanding the importance of external displays of speech behaviour of a person, who aspires to persuade someone. Generally, the success of speech effect is provided by the selection of tactics, and effective application of tactics depends from the choice of their speech embodiment. All interrogative sentences function either in the form of rhetorical issue, or the speaker answers on the issue asked, then he uses “interrogative-responsive step” that performs function of topic actualization, facilitates the transition to it for the addressee, represented as a follower, and spokesman of the general thought: Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year?
The American president frequently personifies the USA.
Thus, we can conclude that Obama’s speeches are characterized by the range of lexical, syntactic and stylistic peculiarities, which forms his individual style.