Language

The language Barack Obama uses in his 2009 inaugural address is formal and emphatic but understandable by the general public. He often uses references to US history which he connects to his new administrati…

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Choice of words

The choice of words reflects a serious, even traditional approach with words like “legacy”  and “heritage”, and an emphasis on values like “honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism”.

Sometimes the speaker uses old-fashioned words which reinforce the connection between past and present such as “bestowed” or “foreb…

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Sentence structure

The sentence structure is formal; there are no interruptions and when the sentences are fragmented, it is to give emphasis to what the spe…

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Tone

The tone of the speaker is serious, determined, and occasionally encouraging. By making allusions to religious language, Obama imbues his speech with a formal and official tone: “But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit…” 

Instances of a more encouraging and optimistic tone can be found elsewhere in the s…

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