Language

Here, we will focus on the language used by Barack Obama in his 2007 speech on reclaiming the American Dream. We will mainly focus on the choice of words, sentence structure, tone, and personal stori…

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Choice of words

In his speech, Obama employs many positive adjectives and nouns, which give an optimistic and hopeful note to his speech. He talks about “values and hopes”, “faith”, “dreams”, “opportunity”, “experience”, “future”, and “hope”. These words help the audience understand that, despite a gloomy present, there is still hope for a better future under Obama’s leadership.

At the same time, Obama also uses negative wor…

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Sentence structure

Most of Obama’s speech contains middle-length and longer sentences, although there are moments when shorter sentences are also used.

Shorter sentences help the audience focus on what Obama has to say and help the speaker present his points clearly and in an orderly manner. The following example helps the audience focus on the values that all Americans share:

… Americans share a faith in simple dreams. A job with wages that can su…

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Tone

If you watch the video of Obama’s speech, you will notice that the speech is not always a word-for-word transcription of what he said. Note that he sometimes makes asides or jokes, or corrects himself as he speaks. This means that the tone of the original speech is slightly less formal than implied by the official transcription.

However, the entire speech is characterized by a determined and firm tone, which mirrors Obama’s presidential ambitions.

When Obama talks about his and his wife’s…

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Personal stories

In his speech, Obama also presents some personal stories to give his arguments a greater impact. For instance, he talks about living in a household where both he and his wife Michelle go out to work. Obama also claims that, although he considers his family luckie…

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