Abstract

In convention speeches and inaugural addresses, presidential candidates and newly-elected presidents attempt to persuade listeners to vote for and support them. One persuasive tool that they use in these speeches is metaphor, considered a fundamental form of reasoning (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). The present study focuses on three conceptual metaphors (POLITICS IS WAR, POLITICS IS A JOURNEY, and POLITICS IS LOVE) used in 40 speeches given by American presidents from 1944 to 2021 in order to see if there are differences in metaphor usage across political party (i.e., Democrat and Republican) and across speech type (i.e., nomination acceptance and inaugural address). All speeches were double-coded for the three metaphors by a group of trained raters, and the average count for each metaphor type per speech was found using a many-facet Rasch measurement. Mixed-effects regressions were then conducted to determine differences across political party and speech type. No quantitative differences were found in the use of these metaphors, suggesting the possibility that these speeches represent a genre of political discourse with particular patterns of metaphor usage. Some qualitative differences between political party and speech type are discussed, as well as limitations and future directions for research.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities

Rights

https://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2022-06-27

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd12442

Keywords

conceptual metaphors, political discourse, persuasion

Language

english

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