Masaryk university faculty of education

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Our war on terror begins with Al Qaida, but it does not end there.

This is not, however, just America's fight, and what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

Once he makes terrorism a world issue, he creates another powerful conceptual metaphor when he states that “Freedom and fear are at war”. Further, he solicits God’s approval as well, when he states that “Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.”

      1. Pragmatics

As already stated, Bush makes great use of all pronouns, mainly 1st person plural, as shown in chart 8.34. He also uses directives, “Be ready!” and rhetorical questions “And you know what?”, altogether five times, making an excellent use of audience involvement strategies.

Chart 8.34

Bush also uses repetition, a three part statement, the rule of three and other pragmatic features, making the speech easy to follow while captivating.

We will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail.

Unlike Kennedy or Nixon, heavily referencing previous presidents, politicians or Winthrop, Bush does not make a single reference to a person, he does however allude to Kennedy’s writing style by using inversion with negation and repetition, Kennedy’s favorite syntactic tool,

Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.

But this country will define our times, not be defined by them.

As for deictic pointers, Bush is clearly operating within current time and place, as shown in chart 8.35, making a good use of pronouns and adverbials as in the following sentence “We have seen their kind before.” Deictic pointing occurs frequently and on purpose to not only emphasize each point but also to play an emotional role.

But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world.

In the above paragraph, Bush uses pronouns our and them, the determiner this and the adverbial here, creating an actual deictic frame, which does not function as a mere complement to the text but as its dominant feature.

Chart 8.35

The influence of the mass media is noticeable not only in the selection of simple syntax and powerful vocabulary but also in the message itself. Similar to Nixon and his hidden agenda in his speech, Bush announces, as part of the plan topic, the course of the war on terror, using concrete situations (in bold) particularly suitable for media broadcast. Further, he adds an aura of secrecy and drama, making it more appealing when stating it will be unlike any other we have ever seen.

Americans should not expect one battle but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.

Overall, Bush’s speech is daring and strong, appealing to the audience with all powerful strategies like pronouns, short sentences, repetition but also simplistic language, ultimately exchanging the sophistication of the message for its power.

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