Masaryk university faculty of education

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Negative discourse

Positive discourse


We are good

Steps that failed

Appeal to American values

They are bad


Chart 10.1 shows a decreasing tendency in negative discourse, with only a slight deviation in Nixon’s and Obama’s speeches, still demonstrating over a 40% decrease over time.

Chart 10.1

Chart 10.2 shows the opposite statistic of positive discourse, showing an increased tendency, with an even greater spread of 45%.

Chart 10.2

Together, these charts expose a diachronic change, which suggests that with time, speakers increasingly opted for positive rhetoric and distanced themselves from negative rhetoric.

Moving forward in the analysis, chart 10.3 confirms that the attention paid to justification varied from 5% to 33%, without pattern, leaving behind the nature of the conflict, political affiliation or historical precedent. It can be suggested that the current political situation and the personality of the speaker possibly played a major role in determining the significance of justification of war.

Chart 10.3

A positive development is seen in chart 10.4 showing the use of audience involvement strategies, specifically 1st person plural, rhetorical questions and let’s/let, proving a 40% increase over time.

Chart 10.4

The appeal to American values is illustrated in chart 10.5, showing perhaps the most significant and unanimous trend. From Lincoln to Obama, there has been a steady increase of appeal to American values, with the exception of Truman, who used our 49 times and appears as an anomaly in the chart, but still in the right direction.

Chart 10.5

This statistic further suggests that presidents have increasingly employed the appeal to American values, as one of the tools to get their war message across to the audience. This can possibly indicate that the audience itself is becoming increasingly responsive to such appeals, revealing a heightened sense of nationalism and patriotism.

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