What is Trump really saying?
Language can be used to tell us many things. It is the measure of how our world works, and how we as people think and communicate. By breaking language apart, it allows us to reveal the ideological and political functions underlying what somebody says.
By dissecting the language Trump used during the 2nd presidential debate, we can see what kind of a person Trump is, what he believes in, and what he is really saying to the American people and the rest of the world.
I will be posting my analysis of the speech made by Trump and what I have found out. All passages I have used can be found online at http://www.macleans.ca/politics where there is a full transcript of the debate.
The first part is below.
Donald Trump: Thank you, Lester. Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico, they’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product, they’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them, and we have a very good fight and we have a winning fight because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China and many other countries are doing the same thing, so we’re losing our good jobs, so many of them.
|Word||Word Class||How many times used above|
|Our/We||2nd person pronoun||8|
|They/they’re||3rd person pronoun||5|
Making enemies – The difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’
By counting some of the words Trump uses it allows us to see some of the tendencies he has when talking. As you can see, early on in his speech Trump has used a lot of ‘we’ and ‘our’ and ‘them.’
He has done this so he can instantly make a distinction between the ‘we’ (himself and America), and the ‘them’ (the people he excludes from this community) The ‘them’ are those that he believes are threatening and damaging America.
To Trump, the ‘them’ first of all consists of China, then it is the people in American Government that are harming the country, those living in Mexico. Then he opens it up to include ‘many other countries.’ Already he has outlined several different enemies, people that he believes are against America and their way of life. He is attempting to convince voters, these other people are a threat and that the only person who can save them, is Trump himself.
The list goes on and on
Trump’s way of speaking in these lines is very childlike. He uses ‘and’ and ‘so’ to join his sentences together. He ends up listing everything he says, in one long and complicated sentence. It makes his speech tedious and slow paced; there is a lack of engagement for the audience listening at home. It is not an easy sentence to follow.
It makes his speech seem unplanned and a rambling of consciousness, where he has just said the first thing that pops into his head. It looks as though Trump has not rehearsed his speech at all and is completely winging it, which seems unprofessional when taking part in a Presidential debate. It also makes it easy to get lost when trying to understand what point he is making.
Everything is ruined, everything is doomed
Trumps choice of words is very negative and emotive. His adjectives are exaggerations like ‘there’s nobody’ and ‘using us as a piggy bank.’ He is painting America’s situation as dire and worse than it actually is. By capitalizing on people’s fears, he is attempting to scaremonger them into voting for him.
He describes jobs as ‘fleeing the country.’ He has used this particular description to make a link between unemployment and immigration. It suggests he blames immigrants or those from ‘Mexico’ as the reason people are struggling to find work. By exploiting the fears of Terrorism, and playing on growing concerns of Immigration, he is finding people to use as a scapegoat for the other problems America are facing. He is convincing voters that by stopping people entering America, and by attacking other countries, all their other problems will be solved.
There is no concrete evidence in what he has said to support this theory, he is simply exercising his own prejudice and stereotypes to enhance his own position; as a white, middle class male.
I’m all about the fight
Trump is very aggressive in the way he chooses to phrase things. He repeats the word ‘fight’ three times. He is provoking anger in the audience, suggesting violence and war is needed to tackle the current issues America has. It suggests that he views physical violence as a good way to resolve conflict.
He is attempting to motivate his audience into believing drastic action must be taken and that he is the only person that is capable of doing that.
Everything in this paragraph so far shows Donald Trump trying to build on people’s paranoia for his own benefit. He manipulated people’s fears to gain their vote and condones violence as his strategy to give the things he is promising.
This form of language analysis has often been used to observe monopoly, bias and underlying meaning in texts. It is a process I have often applied to my own work and it can reveal a lot of the context not directly been communicated or said.
If you have any further comments or thoughts, then please let me know in the comment box below, and keep an eye out for my next post, as I look into more things Trump has stated.