Critical Discourse Analysis of Barack Obama's 2012 Speeches: Views from Systemic Functional Linguistics and Rhetoric

Theory and Practice in Language Studies 6 (4):1178-1187 (2014)
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In the light of Halliday's Ideational Grammatical Metaphor, Rhetoric and Critical Discourse Analysis, the major objectives of this study are to investigate and analyze Barack Obama's 2012 five speeches, which amount to 19383 words, from the point of frequency and functions of Nominalization, Rhetorical strategies, Passivization and Modality, in which we can grasp the effective and dominant principles and tropes utilized in political discourse. Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis frameworks based on a Hallidayan perspective are used to depict the orator’s deft and clever use of these strategies in the speeches which are bound up with his overall political purposes. The results represent that nominalization, parallelism, unification strategies and modality have dominated in his speeches. There are some antithesis, expletive devices as well as passive voices in these texts. Accordingly, in terms of nominalization, some implications are drawn for political writing and reading, for translators and instructors entailed in reading and writing pedagogy.

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