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A Guide to Analysing Speech

Jack Todhunter | Tuesday July 28, 2009

Categories: Hot Entries, Writing, Speech Analysis

George Bush…

click here to view the transcript of President Bush’s speech

A. Bush heavily relies on emotive, or loaded lexis throughout his speech to Congress. This is clearly linked to the notion of “antithesis? – he wants and “us? and “them? situation with the enemy clearly defined.

The following terms are used to describe the US and her allies:

Civilians, freedom, democracy, women and children, unity, join together, friends, decisive, liberation, success, safeguard, justice, co-ordinate, free world, civilised world, stability, leaders and human freedom, victims.

The following negative words and phrases are used to demonise the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and A Qaeda:

Enemies, committed an act of war, Mafia, murderers, terrorist, bombing, kill, fringe movement, atrocity, perverts, plot, evil, destruction, regime, hijack, radical, hate, brutalized, starving, jail, aiding and abetting murder, murderous ideologies, fascism, Nazism, totalitarianism, global terror, hostile.

The cumulative effect of all this loaded language paints a black and white picture of “us? and “them?.

B. Several times in the speech, the President uses biblical and/or religious references to put his message on a higher moral plain than his opponents:

We’ve seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol singing “God Bless America.”

We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.

The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in...

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