Linguistic Analysis of Discourse in International Speeches

Conference: The Asian Conference on Language (ACL2022)
Title: Linguistic Analysis of Discourse in International Speeches
Stream: Language and Communication
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Surendra Pokhrel, Daito Bunka University, Japan


This paper elucidates how first-person pronouns help leaders to speak persuasively on international platforms. Based on ten different speeches delivered by leaders from secular democratic Western nations (such as the U.S.A) to authoritarian Arab states (such as Qatar), this paper explores the use of the first-person pronoun uttered in singular and plural forms along with the objective of use.

This paper found that all leaders used pronoun devices as a part of their persuasion and rhetoric. Leaders mainly were inclined towards the collective "we" pronoun rather than the singular "I" pronoun. Middle Eastern leaders, due to their culture, seem to use fewer "I" pronouns. The differences between "we" collective as attendees and "we" as a country of the speaker are found to be used by leaders in varying degrees. President Putin (Russia) used most "we" to indicate Russia, while President Temer (Brazil) used an extensive amount of "we" to represent the leaders and stakeholders present at the summit.

"I" is mostly found to be used at the beginning of the speeches to extend gratitude for the organizers though this is often deployed to increase the speaker's self-dedication throughout the address. Similarly, "we" is also deployed throughout the speech to establish a sense of communal rapport between the hearer and the speaker (leaders). Gender differences did not significantly affect the use of pronouns, which can be seen from Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Hasina's speech.

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