Analysis of the Rhetorical Devices in Obama’s Public Speeches
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 4, Issue 4, July 2016, Pages: 141-146
Received: May 26, 2016; Accepted: Jun. 14, 2016; Published: Jul. 15, 2016
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Li Fengjie, Foreign Languages Department, School of Humanities, Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, Tianjin, China
Ren Jia, The Department of Linguistics and Translation, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Zhang Yingying, Foreign Languages Department, School of Humanities, Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, Tianjin, China
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A successful speech can not only spur loud applause of the audience but also enlighten them. Public speech is made to exert much influence on the public in a short time, thus achieving the speech-maker’s aim. Being one of the most powerful Presidents in the history of the United States, Obama has been asserting himself among the American people via his enthusiastic and infectious speech. There are many factors attributing to Obama’s success in speech, one of which is that he skillfully applies a variety of rhetorical devices in his various speeches. Therefore, it’s needed to analyze rhetorical devices and their effects in some of his speeches to provide reference for the people who want to make a brilliant speech. With language rhetoric of Neo-Aristotle rhetoric as the theoretical framework, this paper will study four of Obama’s speeches from the perspective of lexical devices, phonological devices and syntactical devices in order to explore the functions of applying these three categories of rhetorical devices. Seven rhetorical devices are to be discussed with regard to their applications and effects in Obama’s speeches. They are alliteration, simile, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, antithesis and parallelism. Finally, some suggestions on speech and rhetoric devices will be offered.
Public Speeches, Language Rhetoric, Semantic Device, Phonological Device, Syntactical Device
To cite this article
Li Fengjie, Ren Jia, Zhang Yingying, Analysis of the Rhetorical Devices in Obama’s Public Speeches, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 4, No. 4, 2016, pp. 141-146. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20160404.11
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This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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