Political speeches appear to provide gripping material for analysis. One of the recent speeches is Trump’s inaugural address. Therefore, this work aims to give a critical review of Trump’s inaugural speech, including general impression which it has created on the audience and intentions which the newly-elected President has been willing to achieve.
During his speech Trump makes a perfect eye contact to address to everyone in front of him. He looks at the audience directly without losing the eye contact. This is done to keep the public’s attention. Trump is definitely prepared for this address since it might be one of the most important speeches in his life. He does not seem to read from notes and looks competent (New York Daily News).
Trump’s intentions are defined by four features of political speeches. They are anthropocentricity, expansionism, functionalism, and explanation. In anthropocentricity, the study of language phenomena relies on the personality. In this case, it is Trump. In the framework of expansionism, it is necessary to demonstrate how Trump focuses on traditional American values. As for functionalism, it aims to investigate how the politician makes use of the existing possibilities of the language in his speech. When it comes to explanation, its purpose is to illustrate the internal organization of the language and its modules (Stuckey, 2015).
First, it is necessary to dwell upon how Trump uses the principle of expansionism in his speech. Contrary to his opponents, Trump focuses on the traditional American values which guarantee stability and security in the society. One of the basic values is patriotism. Trump speaks about it in his speech: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will make America great again” (New York Daily News). Strong America is the priority of Trump’s policy. Besides, the US should become a country for Americans but not for immigrants and defend the rights of Americans (New York Daily News). Another basic value is progress and change. According to Trump, changes should affect various spheres of the modern American society, including economy (New York Daily News). Finally, Trump reflects upon the right to be well of. He states that people who have a job should be prosperous (New York Daily News).
After discussing the idea of expansionism, it is necessary to consider the notion of functionalism. It is possible to divide it into two components: meaningful and communicative (Stuckey, 2015). The meaningful component includes key words and concepts which President uses. They are connected with patriotism: to make America respected again, to make America wealthy again. Another concept is “changes”: to create millions of jobs, to develop a foreign policy based on American interest, new approaches. The next element of the meaningful module demonstrates how Trump sees the present. Deliberately, he creates a negative image of it and blames many problems on Obama and Clinton. Trump tends to involve the concept of destruction in this case: to weaken America, economic assault on American jobs and wealth, low growth. Therefore, Trump happens to create a depressing picture of the present in order to signify a hope for possible changes in the future. Finally, it is crucial to mention Trump’s focus on slogans which he uses rather successfully to comply with his image of prosperous America of the future: “We will make America great again,” “We will put American people first again,” “We will make our communities wealthy again” (New York Daily News).
As for the communicative component, Trump applies different strategies and tactics, for instance, interpretational strategy, commentary strategy, address to the public emotions, tactics of conviction, and contrastive analysis couple with evidence. In his speech he uses many stylistic devices, such as parallel constructions, lexical antonymy, and metaphors to make his speech more rhythmic, emotional, and expressive (New York Daily News, Stuckey, 2015). All of these help him achieve his intentions.
In conclusion, it is necessary to state that this work has analyzed and given a critical review of Trump’s inaugural address. It has evaluated the general impression that the speech might have had on the audience. Besides, it has given the insight into the intentions which Trump had in the course of his address.
New York Daily News (2017). Highlight from Donald Trump inauguration speech. Web.
Stuckey, M. E. (2015). Political rhetoric: A presidential briefing book. New Brunswick. NJ: Transaction Publishers.