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Politics & Political Science

Do You Speak Presidential by Anna Marie Trester Analysis

“Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The following paper analyzes the language as a powerful political device in the context of an article titled “Do You Speak Presidential” written by Anna Marie Trester. The further statement is supported by the glimpses of a few speeches from former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump. Trester, throughout her content, attempts to explicate the significance of speeches delivered by the president and in due course, she also elaborates on the noteworthy changes in people’s way of speaking that are caused by the reflection of such orations.

According to Trester, most Americans are not familiar with the English spoken in Washington, D.C. because it is not the most prominent dialect and is, therefore, considered a bit fleeting. The main reason behind its transitory nature is that most of the populace does not belong to Washington, D.C., and whenever they feel a need to move there, they fetch their speech of communal backdrops with which they grew up. In turn, this diversity results in the form of amalgamated norms.

To further explain the underlying point Tresta says that “American English that most Americans say is most acceptable may be entirely imaginary.” (Tresta, 2005) It is also believed that standard American has a Midwestern origin. Myriad people underline the imperativeness of broadcasting to develop preference levels, but sometimes it becomes difficult to define broadcasting and its interconnectivity with Standard English. Tresta adds the instance of America’s 40th President Ronald Reagan who is known as the pioneer of an enticing variety of speaking intricacy throughout his speeches. However, this raises the point that Reagan was also a professional actor, and according to his profession, he was well-versed in masking his origins through linguistic variances, oration, and speaking. Reagan spent his childhood in Illinois and afterward settled in California but regardless of diverse settings he never exhibited any regionalism in his speeches that is quietly appreciable. In the field of oration and speeches, he followed the neutralism in accent and expression, an attribute of newscasters. Nevertheless, most American presidents have their own style of oration, and whenever they speak publically, several factors reveal their influences and sometimes their origins. In the following; the oration styles of Barack Obama and Donald Trump are described in detail in the context of provided speech clips.

Barack Obama was the 44th American president and was born in Hawaii; he is widely known as an inspirational and influential speaker. He was the first African American president in American history who won the presidential authority with a major party’s nomination. Obama has a particular and unique approach to oration that somehow revolves around his race, and this aspect has contributed to his accomplishments to a great extent. Another critical factor that American people resonate with is a few underlying rhetorical devices: imagery, abstraction, conversational and democratic speeches, and conciliatory and valence messages. Reportedly, Obama employed all of these devices throughout his orations in the interconnectivity of his race and the overall American nation. Take the instance of the valence message delivered by Obama which became the most fundamental component of his sheer popularity. A valence message can be referred to as a declaration of candidates regarding the significance of a nation’s symbols and values. Take the instance of the speeches that he delivered on the occasion of “Death of Trayvon Martin,” “Sandy Hook Massacre” “50th anniversary of Selma” ” Charleston massacre eulogy” “Rutgers commencement address 2016″ and the national democratic committee” he addresses the audiences with the messages laden with cultural values. He delivered almost all of his speeches in his specific accent with a slight twist and turned.

According to Obama, his father was from Kenya, while his mother belonged to Kansas, and as he was brought up by his mother, he has an accent from Kansas. However, if one observes his speech it will become evident that he raises “a” in some of his words such as “that” and “then,” and he sometimes pronounces “back” and “lack” as “back” and “leak” respectively. At times the accent of Chicago takes the lead in Obama’s speeches because Chicago has an intense effect on his life and therefore it is not astonishing if he gets an accent from Chicago. Similarly, at some points he stumbles in the usage of grammatical implications for instance in his speech on “Death of Trayvon Martin” he says “my messages are” instead of “my message is/ my messages are.”

On the other hand, Obama’s historical speech of 2004 that he delivered for the Democratic National Convention persuaded a rhetorical approach that intermingled with complete consilience and based on the outcomes attained through mediation, translation, an amalgamation of various languages as well as diverse traditions and values. Through such a strategy, Obama assured that he considered the standard rules and encouraged everyone to take an interest in his speech. His varied remarks and switching accent, in turn, assisted him in gaining fame and familiarity by uniting ethnic and racial communities to select him. As a biracial nominee, establishing rapport with the public was challenging. His 2004 speech is widely known as the primary reason for his winning in subsequent presidential elections.

Unlike Barack Obama, the recent president of America; Donald Trump has an entirely different way of oration and accent. His voice features a timber texture, and his pitch sometimes lies between a shriek and a shout. Trump has profoundly prominent and distinctive driving power and sentence cadence with equally peculiar pronunciations. Several supporters of Trump admire his style and appreciate politicians like him who play a vital role in unveiling harsh realities; moreover, Trump’s unique voice and pace make him popular among many. Trump was born and grew up in a privileged atmosphere that in turn led him to get an education from Wharton College. Consequently, he has an apparent Queen’s accent that, fortunately, assists him in maintaining his neutrality among accent-based stereotyped groups.

If one observes the clips of his speeches, it will become definite that he endeavors to entice a darker tinge of macho throughout his statements. He uses a working-class oration approach in his speeches, and through this strategy, he attempts to represent himself as a bossy and tough person. Observe several of his speeches and statements, which revolve around the same and repeated issues. For instance, he always talks about illegal immigrants, the stupidity of other politicians, and, of course, the Mexican wall. He pursues an approach of boasting and in due course humiliates others. For example, he says “I am the greatest job president that God has ever created” and “I beat China all the time.” furthermore he keeps disgracing others to put strength to his propositions as he says “Obama care” and “you are fake.” Unlike Obama, Trump imposes assertiveness in his Queens and New Yorker accent, and during his speeches, he does not show any public or media empowerment instead he emphasizes only and only himself.  According to experts Donald Trump’s expressions are not usually grammatically accurate, and most of the time he uses a repetitive and awkward composition of extremely crude words and phrases that make him out of the list of traditionally and nationally influential and impressive orators.

Public speeches are a useful tool to disseminate lingual preferences and communicational approaches, and people look forward to experiencing a tinge of abstraction, democratic and conversational speeches. Moreover, the implication of valence, consilience, and imagery is also indispensable to affecting the public through the tool of expression. The subject article and videos depict that politicians’ way of talking and deliverance of messages profoundly affect their overall personification and public image. The public can constantly judge their leaders either subconsciously or consciously by their speaking approaches and styles. The voices and rhetorical strategies of politicians provide clues regarding their upbringing, their parental origins, and where they learned English. Sometimes people tend to alter their natural accents and speaking style to evade the peril of any stereotypical stigmas, and sometimes politicians modify their accents to attain a particular favor all because discrimination posed by linguistic approaches is more real in public life.

Work Cited

Trester, Anna Marie. “Do You Speak Presidential?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2005,

CNN. “President Obama’s best speeches.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Jan. 2017,

thnkrtv. “The Speech that Made Obama President.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Aug. 2012,

CNN. “Donald Trump’s best lines during his 2016 speech.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 June 2015,

BBC news. “Donald Trump shuts down CNN reporter – BBC News.” YouTube, YouTube, 11
Jan. 2017,



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