“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 with 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 delivered by 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 the noteworthy changes in people’s way of speaking that caused by the reflection of such orations. According to Trester; most of Americans are not familiar with the English spoken in Washington D.C because it is not a most prominent dialect and 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 in which they grew up, with them. In turn, this diversity, outcomes 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 of people underline the imperativeness of broadcasting to develop preferences level, 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. But here raises a point that Reagan was a professional actor as well and according to his profession, he was well-versed with 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 that is an attribute of newscasters. Nevertheless, most American presidents have their style of oration, and whenever they speak publically, several factors reveal their influences and sometimes their origins. In the following; oration style 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 born in Hawaii; he is widely known as an inspirational and influential speaker. He was the first ever African American president of American history which won the presidential authority with a major party’s nomination. Obama has a particular and unique approach of oration that somehow revolves around his race and this aspect contributed to his accomplishments to a great extent. Here is another critical factor that American people resonate with a few underlying rhetorical devices that can be listed as imagery, abstraction, conversational and democratic speeches as well as conciliatory and valence messages. And reportedly, Obama employed all of these devices throughout his orations in interconnectivity of his race and the overall American nation. Take the instance of valence message delivered by Obama and became the most fundamental component of his sheer popularity. A valence message can be referred as a declaration of candidates regarding the significance of nation’s symbols and values. Take the instance of the speeches that he delivered at the occasion of “Death of Trayvon Martin,” “Sandy Hook Massacre” “50th anniversary of Selma” and ” Charleston massacre eulogy” “Rutgers commencement address 2016″ and 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 brought up by his mother, therefore he has an accent from Kansas. However, if one observes his speech it will become evident that he raises “a” is some of his words such as “that” and “then,” and he sometimes pronounces “back” and “lack” as “behk” and “lehk” respectively. At times the accent of Chicago takes the lead in the 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 of “Death of Trayvon Martin” he says “my messages is” instead of “my message is/ my messages are.”
On the other hand, Obama’s historical speech of 2004 that he delivered for 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 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 to gain fame and familiarity through uniting ethnic and racial communities to select him because being a biracial nominee it was challenging for him to establish rapport with the public. His 2004’s 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 under the category between a shriek and shout. Trump has profoundly prominent and distinctive driving power and sentence cadence with equally peculiar pronunciations. There are several supporters of Trump that admire his style and appreciate politicians like him that play a vital role in unveiling harsh realities; moreover, there is a unique quality in the voice and pace of Trump that makes him popular among many. Trump 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 is, fortunately, assisting 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 implicates a working-class oration approach to his speeches, and through this strategy, he attempts to represent himself as a bossy and tough persona. Observe several of his speeches and statements and all of them revolving around 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 that “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 on himself. According to experts Donald Trump’s expressions are not usually grammatically accurate, and most of the times he uses 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 and consilience, as well as imagery, is also indispensable to affect public through the tool of expression. The subject article and videos depict that politicians’ way of talking and deliverance of message has a profound effect on their overall personification and their public image. Public has a constant potential of judging their leaders either subconsciously or consciously by their speaking approaches and styles. The voices and rhetorical strategies of politicians provide clues regarding their upbringing and their parental origins, and from 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 are more real in public life.
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, www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6ZHY0E4_Wg&feature=youtu.be.