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DONALD TRUMP CAN TEACH US TO SPEAK BETTER

ISAIAH LYNCH, Student Journalist

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The controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency is vast and never ending. The conversations concerning our new president are fresh and recurrent. The need for further persuasive reports citing Donald Trump as good or evil are unnecessary. The flaming conversation will continue without further fuel. I have no interest in discussing the genuineness and benefit of our president and his actions, but instead will acknowledge one favorable feature of his character that shaped the result of the election. The defining element is Donald Trump’s diction, which should be explored by everyone, because it supported his campaign and appealed to the American public who authorized his presidency.

Donald Trump’s public diction consisting of his level of communication, discourse markers, passion, and digression has caused a number of Americans to become subdued by his hypnosis. Mr. Trump’s simplistic speech  has proved to be one of his greatest strengths.

Analysts have concluded that Donald Trump speaks below a sixth-grade reading level, which sounds embarrassing and well below the capabilities of a successful businessman. However, his use of simple vocabulary was still able to captivate a great amount of American voters. His election win can now be attributed to the level of communication he uses when addressing large audiences. We’ve witnessed Donald Trump using words such as “good”, “bad”, and “stupid” frequently in his campaigns speeches and even after his admittance into office. Donald Trump was able to enthrall a broader and more diverse public because of the additional clarity that his simple vocabulary provided.

Most friends and family talk simplistically with each other, and hearing a presidential candidate address them similarly creates a familiar feeling of authenticity and comfort. Donald Trump uses discourse markers habitually when speaking, to evoke this feeling of genuineness. Discourse markers are phrases such as “so”, “I mean”, and “Okay” which bring emotion and a personal touch into a sentence without changing the original message of the statement. These words cause the audience to feel emotionally motivated to agree with what Donald Trump announces, because the arguments sound personal and passionate.

In Donald Trump’s presidential announcement speech he stated, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I tell you that.” That last sentence serves as a discourse marker which brings genuineness and passion into the speech. At another point he states, “And believe me, you look at the border with Yemen. You remember Obama a year ago, Yemen was a great victory. Two weeks later, the place was blown up. Everybody got out— and they kept our equipment.” Ignoring context, the first fragment of the sentence also serves as a discourse marker within his speech, which grants him the trust of the audience.

The Huffington Post published an article which claimed Donald Trump is good at “using effective discourse mechanisms to communicate what he wants to communicate to his audience.” The article also stated that Donald Trump “is very careful and very strategic in his use of language.”

Donald Trump includes this same strategic passion in his exploitation of public fears, which creates a more persuasive argument. President Trump abuses some hidden personal fears of immigration and terrorism through exaggerating their existence in passionately delivered speeches. When referring to illegal immigrants as “criminals,” and terrorists as “rats,” Donald Trump was able to successfully trigger the fears embedded deep in the hearts of Americans, and make them feel emotionally invested in what was being said. With an emotional investment from the audience, the new president could passionately fabricate questionable claims and convince the crowd to receive them as fact. With this power of diction, Donald Trump convinced millions of the faultlessness that his arguments carried.

Despite the many questions Donald Trump endured during his campaign, his arguments do not always address the questions being asked. Donald Trump is known to digress from the subject, as he repeatedly did throughout his debates with presidential candidates and reporters. This digression has been accused of being childish and a clear evidence of his lack of presidential potential, when that isn’t the complete truth. Digressing from the question provides an opportunity for him to focus the audience on what he prefers to discuss instead. Although there are many people who recognize Donald Trump’s blatant digression, there exists an equally sizable amount of people who are fooled by this technique.

With personal judgements put aside, we can all draw from the diction of Donald Trump. His election win proves his system of speech is successful. Imagine how successful we could be if we copied his diction into our own lives for less significant times than a presidential campaign.

Lakoff, George. “Understanding Trump’s Use Of Language.” The Huffington Post, 24 Aug. 2016. Web. 9 May. 2017.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/understanding-trumps-use-_b_11675280.html

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DONALD TRUMP CAN TEACH US TO SPEAK BETTER