Presidential Inaugural Speech: Traditional and Communicative Approaches to Its Study
The objective of the paper in question is to make a multifaceted study of presidential inaugural speech using the basic concepts of communicative linguistics.
The presidential inaugural is defined as an essential element of the investiture ritual. Being closely connected with the ceremonial event this type of political speech is attributed to the epideictic rhetoric which distinctive features are the contemplation of the present moment by means of incorporating the past and future, the speaker’s praising and / or criticizing the situation, observing the orator’s skills by the audience.
The inaugural address is exploited to build trust in the newly elected president and his / her vision of the state prospects. To fulfill its main purposes of consolidating the nation after the election and establishing the values common for the audience, various engaging lexical and stylistic means are included into the text of the inaugural.
The matrix of seven parameters based on the components of communication is used to make a profile of presidential inaugural speech. The subject of this type of political communication is the president-elect who addresses the nation which is the recipient of the communication. The role of the audience in this ritual is to witness the transition of power and its legitimacy. The message transmitted in the form of monologue is the public realization of the written text prepared by the speechwriter in good time before the occasion. Regarding the functions of the inaugural address it is classified as ritual if we are to choose between this type and the other two – orientation and agonal types. With the information scope being taken into consideration, the presidential inaugural speech is attributed to the medium genre. In terms of the communicative goal of the utterance, the address of the president-elect is characterized as evaluative with the features of the informational type. As an additional aspect of analysis the historical context is suggested.
Zavadska, O. (2020). Inauguration speeches of Ukrainian presidents as a symbolic resource of power. Political culture and ideology, 3, 109–114. doi: https://doi.org/10.24195/2414-9616.2020-3.17.
Krapyva, Yu., & Krikun D. (2019). Political speech as a type of political communication. Transcarpathian Philological Studies, 11, 2, 42–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.32782/tps2663-4880/2019.11-2.7.
Romanyuk, S. (2015). Linguistic and Stylistic Characteristics of the Inaugural Address. Linguistic and Stylistic Studies. Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, 3, 158–166.
Aristotle. (2007) On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse / translated with introduction, notes, and appendices by G. A. Kennedy (2nd edition). The Oxford University Press.
Campbell, K. K., & Jamieson, K. H. (2008). Presidents Creating the Presidency: Deeds Done in Words. The University of Chicago Press.
Merriam-Webster. (2023). Inauguration. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inauguration.
Krapyva, Yu., & Sukhenko, A. (2022). Presidential Debate (on the material of the 2020 Election Campaign in the USA). The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series Philology, 90, 6–10. doi: 10.26565/2227-1864-2022-90-01.
Statista. (2021). Length of inaugural addresses of all American Presidents from 1789 to 2021. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/243686/length-of-inaugural-addresses-of-us-presidents/.
Columbia College. (2021). Presidential Inauguration. Inauguration of Joe Biden. Retrieved from https://www.ccdc.edu/presidential-inauguration-inauguration-of-joe-biden-january_20th_2021/.
Shogan, C. (2020). The Inaugural Address: Origins, Shared Elements, and Elusive Greatness. Retrieved from https://www.whitehousehistory.org/the-inaugural-address.
Vassileva, M. A. (2021). Political Communication Model of the Inaugural Address Speech of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden. Rhetoric and Communications, 48, 51–63.
Vatnoey, E. (2015). Leaders’ Response to Terrorism: The Role of Epideictic Rhetoric in Deliberative Democracies. Journal of Public Deliberation, 11, 2 (5), 1–22.