This book provides a pragmatic analysis of presidential language. Pragmatics is concerned with "meaning in context," or the relationship between what we say and what we mean. John Wilson explores the various ways in which U.S. Presidents have used language within specific social contexts to achieve specific objectives. This includes obfuscation, misdirection, the use of metaphor or ambiguity, or in some cases simply lying. He focuses on six presidents: John F.
Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald W. Reagan, William F. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack H. Obama. These presidents cover most of the last half of the twentieth century, and the first decade of the twenty first century, and each has been associated with a specific linguistic quality. John F. Kennedy was
famed for his quality of oratory, Nixon for his manipulative use of language, Reagan for his gift of telling stories, Clinton for his ability to engage the public and to linguistically turn arguments and descriptions in particular directions. Bush, on the other hand, was famed for his inability to use language appropriately, and Obama returns us to the rhetorical flourishes of early Kennedy. In the case of each president, a range of specific examples are explored in order to highlight the ways
in which a pragmatic analysis may provide an insight into presidential language. In many cases, what the president says is not necessarily what the president means.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 382 g
Dimensions: 232 x 156 x 19 mm
Overall, the monograph offers an innovative approach to understanding the complex relation between language and politics. It provides a wonderful toolkit for pragmatic analysis, while dealing with both the general and the specific aspects of presidential language. * Yansheng Mao (Harbin Engineering University), Discourse and Communication (Sage) *
this is a volume of academic research that bridges a crevice in the sphere of pragmatics, which keeps us abreast of new, emergent ideas for probing into the presidential language with outstanding social impact. * Yi Sun and Mengjiao Zhang, Journal of Language and Politics *
The book is very rich in detailed analyses of various aspects of language use...Wilson emphasizes that the aim of the book is to provide insights into particular examples of presidential language from a pragmatic perspective, and not to present a coherent theory of presidential language nor to resolve theoretical disputes within pragmatics. This is also what makes the book exciting, informative, and valuable not least for the readers planning their own studies on the
language of politics. * Mats Ekstroem, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly *