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ERIC Number: EJ899722
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
Start-Up Rhetoric in Eight Speeches of Barack Obama
O'Connell, Daniel C.; Kowal, Sabine; Sabin, Edward J.; Lamia, John F.; Dannevik, Margaret
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v39 n5 p393-409 Oct 2010
Our purpose in the following was to investigate the start-up rhetoric employed by U.S. President Barack Obama in his speeches. The initial 5 min from eight of his speeches from May to September of 2009 were selected for their variety of setting, audience, theme, and purpose. It was generally hypothesized that Barack Obama, widely recognized for the excellence of his rhetorical performance, would pursue both constant and variable strategies in his effort to establish contact with his audience. More specifically, it was hypothesized that the make-up of the audience--primarily native or non-native speakers of English--would be a prominent independent variable. A number of temporal and verbal measures were used as dependent variables. Variations were evident in mean length in syllables and duration in seconds of utterances (articulatory phrases), articulation rate in syllables per second of ontime, mean duration of silent pauses in seconds, and frequency of fillers, hesitations, colloquial words and phrases, introductory phrases, and 1st person singular pronominals. Results indicated that formality versus informality of the setting and presence or absence of a teleprompter were more prominent than native versus non-native audiences. Our analyses confirm Obama's skillfulness in challenging and variable settings and clearly detect orderliness and scientific generalizability in language use. The concept of orality/literacy provides a theoretical background and emphasizes dialogical interaction of audience and speaker.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A