U.S. Presidential Campaign '08:
A Semantic Matrix Analysis
Introduction

Language is a core medium for the social construction of today's reality. In political rhetoric, language is used to influence the voters' way of thinking and to shape their emotions and attitudes. But language is not only a medium of persuasion and manipulation. It also reveals the speaker's underlying values and attitudes and tells us something about the Zeitgeist.

The current U.S. presidential campaign is one of the major events that illustrates how the specific semantics of a candidate's rhetoric are profiled, debated and contested in the public arena.

SEMTRACKS Political Tracker provides regular analyses of the campaign speeches by the U.S. presidential candidates in 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama. Based on our semantic search and tracking technology, we compare the candidates' language and the characteristic features of their political rhetoric.

SEMTRACKS Political Tracker does not just count words and provides you with frequency lists, like others do. Rather, we focus on the significant differences between the ways politicians use language.

In all our analyses, the margin of error is max. 0.05%; in other words, with a probability of 95% and higher the differences between the candidate's language in his campaign speeches are not random but are the result of specific linguistic strategies in the creation of political messages.

SEMTRACKS thus tracks the unique linguistic features of a candidate that contribute to the overall semantic matrices their campaigns try to create.

Our blog starts with the analysis of simple linguistic categories and will gradually provide the reader with more complex examples.

For a German summary of our latest research results, see here: "Die 'Wort-Wahl': Barack Obama und John McCains rhetorischer Kampf ums Weiße Haus." (Oct 25, 2008)

Currently, the following analyses are available:

Analysis #1:Obama's Buzzwords: A Collective Journey to the Future (09/06/2008)
Analysis #2:McCain's Buzzwords: An Agenda of Conservative Statemanship (09/06/2008)
Analysis #3:Obama's Phrases: Dialogue and Determination (09/07/2008)
Analysis #4:McCain's Phrases: Economy and International Relations (09/08/2008)
Analysis #5:The Campaigns' Pronouns: Republican "I & They" versus Democratic "We & You" (09/11/2008)
Analysis #6:The Campaigns' Themes: The Shifting Usage of Change, Reform, War and Energy over Time (09/14/2008)
Analysis #7:The Many Meanings of "Change": How McCain and Obama Talk About Transforming America (09/15/2008)
Analysis #8:Experience vs. Judgment, Past vs. Future?: A Linguistic Analysis of the First Presidential Debate on U.S. Foreign Policy (09/27/2008)
Analysis #9:Biden vs. Palin - Insider vs. Outsider: A Linguistic Analysis of the Vice Presidential Debate (10/03/2008)
Analysis #10:Biden vs. Palin - On Presidential Candidates and the Definition of a Maverick: A Linguistic Analysis of the Vice Presidential Debate - Part 2 (10/05/2008)
Analysis #11:"It's the economy, stupid!": Obama's and McCain's Economic Rhetoric between Wall Street and Main Street (10/07/2008)
Analysis #12:Obama vs. McCain: Round 2 - The (Rhetorical) Gloves Come Off: A Linguistic Analysis of the Second Presidential Debate - updated (10/08/2008)
Analysis #13:Economic Meltdown and Metaphors: How McCain and Obama Talk about Wall Street and Main Street (10/12/2008)
Analysis #14:Obama vs. McCain: Round 3 - The Last Stand: A Linguistic Analysis of the Final Presidential Debate (10/16/2008)
Analysis #15:The Final Stretch: Consistency and the Hope for Game Changers: A Linguistic Analysis of the Candidates' Speeches after the Final Presidential Debate (10/27/2008)
Analysis #16:Sarah Palin - Between Alaska, Joe Sixpack and the White House - Part I: A Linguistic Analysis of the Republican VP Candidate's Political Rhetoric (10/31/2008)
Analysis #17:Sarah Palin - Between Alaska, Joe Sixpack and the White House - Part II: A Linguistic Analysis of the Republican VP Candidate's Political Rhetoric (10/31/2008)
Analysis #18:Visions of America: How McCain and Obama Talk about the State of the Nation and Its Future (11/01/2008)

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author(s): Bubenhofer / Klimke / Scharloth   date: 09-07-2008   title: "Metainfo"   
© by semtracks      

What this website is about: Obama linguistics and McCain linguistics. You learn on this website about the semantics of Obama and the semantics of McCain. It deals with the political rhetoric of Barack Obama and John McCain.Technorati Profile