Masaryk university faculty of education

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Lexical Analysis

As the analysis of crisis rhetoric is the focus of this work, lexical analysis will play a key role in identifying, comparing and contrasting lexemes and their meanings. Though communicating a fairly similar message of an upcoming or current conflict, speakers differ in choice of words and expressions, for various reasons. Lim agrees that “discerning the pattern of occurrence of keywords facilitates insight because keywords give a quick approximation of the lexical sense of any body of rhetoric.” (p. 331) For example Lincoln uses the term adversary, Roosevelt chose an identification based on nationality, that is Japanese forces and Bush chose the term evil doer. Though all three identify the enemy, each president had his reasons for choosing a different expression with a different connotation. This section of the analysis will also include the use of archaisms and neologisms, judged from a modern-day point of view.

      1. Archaisms

The reason for including a section dealing with archaisms in this thesis is largely due to the age of some of the speeches. Lincoln, McKinley and Wilson all spoke long ago, and in their discourse can be found words like avowedly, menaced or garrison, which are, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “outmoded or old-fashioned.” That said, these words also have a definite charm and refinement and contribute to the overall linguistic sophistication of the discourse.

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