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Barack Obama Inauguration Speech Second Term

Barack Obama Inauguration Speech Second Term

In any country, the inauguration speech is a valuable ceremony determining the further strategy chosen by the new leader. The political and rhetorical technologies require quite detailed preparation on various levels: linguistic, oral speech, intonation etc. The United States of America is one of the leading countries with a large impact on global world, so the attention to inauguration is too high. The paper contains the analysis of Barack Obama’s second inauguration address aimed at consolidation of the national and patriotic traditions through personal appeal and accent on the key words.

After traditional greeting introduction on his post, Barack Obama thanks all people, beginning with the highest range and to “distinguished guests and fellow citizens” (The White House, 2013). He applies to the history referencing the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims freedom and equality. The stronger argument Obama applies to is the history retrospection of 1776, which reminds the citizens about their ancestors and beliefs. This introductory part contains gradation through using of the same words in one sentence. For example, “Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword” and anadiplosis “We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. Together we determined that a modern economy requires…” (The White House, 2013).

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The preamble of each thesis of the speech begins with the words “We, the people”, applying to every person on the issue of national reconciliation (The White House, 2013). Speaking about syntax, the sentences are mostly complete and contain numerous synonyms, categorizing and generalizing the elements of each statement. In addition, the syntax of the speech includes deduction structure from the general things (consequences) to the reason. For example, “Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character” (The White House, 2013). There is also frequent use of anaphora (“Our journey is not complete”, “We must”), which is empowered by vocal peculiarities when Obama speaks louder (The White House, 2013). It provokes the effect of emotional gradation and empathy of the speaker through appeals to his auditory.

Pronouns are the most frequently used words in the speech as well as the nouns, marking national traditionalism and unification. The most popular pronouns in Barack Obama’s speech are “us” and “we”, promoting the conception of liberty and equality. The text includes intensive use of the adverb “together”, elevating the effect of undivided vision of the American leader and his people.

The speaker frequently uses some key words containing the sense of entire speech and providing strong rhetorical appeals (including louder tone and abrupt pauses). The structure of speech has a linear chronological model: the events go from the past to present and passing the future going back to the past. Among those words are “time”, “nation”, “American”, “God” (the issue of belief is strongly promoted within the text), and “liberty”. Those key words create logic connection between the action statements, making verb tense and agreement. Hence, the verb part (activity) is composed in consecutive order: to remember – to plan – to act. As for the emotional part, Obama uses a phrase “We must…” (“claim its promise”, “lead it” etc.) (The White House, 2013). The pronouns and additional verbs repeated few times make the expression more confident and convenient: “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together” (The White House, 2013).

In the context of spelling and punctuation components, it is characterized as one by pauses and intonation observations and impression. There is a persuasive and confident intonation with temporal pauses: traditionally, for applauses and while underlying the most important words. The “phonemes” and “morphemes” in this case enhance the effect of persuasion (Bright, n. d.). While repeating some words in his sentences, Obama makes his voice louder and temp of speech faster until mentioning concrete aim. One of the best examples demonstrating such method is, “…she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own” (The White House, 2013).

The conclusion part has a more emotional level than all parts above, and it contains few important dates from the American past. It brings the audience back to the beginning of Obama’s speech, making a logical final claim. The final phrase “You and I as citizens” is a successful way of summarizing the entire idea with the demonstration of equality (The White House, 2013).

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In the aspect of general logic, the text except diachronic includes synchronic components, such as topic and audience variety (climate, immigration, LGBT rights etc.). According to J. Priestley” (2013), “Every proposition asserts the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, which are called the subject and predicate, (p. 9). In the speech, the predicate is mostly located after the object, developing and explaining the basic statements. The idea goes from the local (the USA) challenges, than covering global issues, and ending with the American role and mission.

Thus, Barack Obama’s second inauguration speech made a strong lingual (oral and lexical) influence with the help of structure and lexical components. The key ideas contained the words “us”, “we”, “together”, “God”, “liberty”, and “nation”. The logic model combined the principle ‘object – predicate’ with the use of deductive manner of speech. The topics covered both local and global challenges with the mentioned American mission in global development.

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John F. Kennedy. Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

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