Language

The language used by Barack Obama in his 2008 victory speech can be described as clear and rhetorically interesting – it is easy to follow and to remember thanks to vivid images, repetitions, and allusio…

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Choice of words

The choice of words reflects a formal style – “has not perished from the Earth”  – with occasional informal language – “the new puppy”.

The words chosen by the speaker are often evocative, related to historical events and their link to present American politics. Obama creates a contrast between negative words which describe the recent past (mainly targeting the Republican administration) and words with positive meaning which describe the present and the future.

Some relevant…

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Tone

Barack Obama’s overall tone when he delivers the speech is serious and determined. This is also indicated by gestures such as touching his thumb and index fingers or pointing with his index finger. However, most of the time the speaker relies on his facial expression, looking seriously towards the audience. Note that although the speech is formal and seems prepared in advance, Obama hardly ever looks a…

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Personal stories and anecdotes

Apart from the light-hearted personal story about Obama’s daughters receiving a new puppy, the speaker also alludes to his recently deceased grandmother, which is meant to create empathy.

However, the most impactful story is that of Ann Nixon Cooper, a 106-year-old African-American woman who voted for O…

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