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Understanding Trump's Use of Language

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Frewah
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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Frewah » November 1st, 2018, 8:26 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
October 24th, 2018, 5:17 pm
Lakoff says:
I have found that he is very careful and very strategic in his use of language.
I think that this is only part of the story. The other part is Trump’s lack of a filter between what he thinks and what he says.
Indeed. There seems to be no or little filtering. Trump is very much a one man show. It does beg a question. There has been other temperamental presidents before Trump, right? Lyndon B. johnson comes to mind as he seemed to be quite aggressive, quite different from JFK. Sometimes, political leaders, have been overheard saying things that they never would have said in official communication. If so, I suppose it may not have been very different from what we hear from Trump. I suspect he may have used seriously foul language on several ocasions.

I don’t think presidents like Gerald Ford or, say, Jimmy Carter, used similar language while in office, certainly not on a daily basis.

The point is to find something for the purpose of comparison.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Steve3007 » November 2nd, 2018, 5:47 am

Georgeanna wrote:Can you imagine that most gentlemanly of royals, the Duke of Edinburgh speaking his mind at a rally ?
He must be so frustrated at only being able to express the occasional 'amiable gaffe'.
Good point. As you've shown, he's certainly come up with some memorable one-liners.
Frewah wrote:Indeed. There seems to be no or little filtering. Trump is very much a one man show. It does beg a question. There has been other temperamental presidents before Trump, right? Lyndon B. johnson comes to mind as he seemed to be quite aggressive, quite different from JFK. Sometimes, political leaders, have been overheard saying things that they never would have said in official communication. If so, I suppose it may not have been very different from what we hear from Trump. I suspect he may have used seriously foul language on several ocasions.

I don’t think presidents like Gerald Ford or, say, Jimmy Carter, used similar language while in office, certainly not on a daily basis.

The point is to find something for the purpose of comparison.
Personally, I don't think it's the "foulness" or bluntness or supposed political incorrectness of the language that's the problem. I don't give a flying f*ck about that. It's the lies, the ignorance and the political policies that are the problem. All that other stuff is a smokescreen.

The most recent batch of lies about various issues to do with immigration simply serve to prompt people to talk about that subject. Telling blatant lies is a very effective way to get people to talk about the subject one is lying about, because they often can't resist the temptation to call out the lies and, in order to do that, they have to talk about the subject of the lies. For the liar, it's win-win. If the lies are called out then the desired subject matter has successfully been made centre-stage. If they're not called out then the liar gets away with lying and will probably cite the lack of objection as evidence that he's telling the truth.

In a world in which few people care about the concept of objective truth it's simple and effective.

I think the biggest tragedy of the whole situation is on the subject of environmental policy. But that's been discussed so much before, the tragedy is so monumentally huge and there's so little you and I can do about it that I personally just stick to gallows humour on that subject these days.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Burning ghost » November 7th, 2018, 12:27 am

Georgeanna wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 2:00 pm
Steve3007 wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 1:09 pm
These mid-term things look like a lot of fun. We should introduce them in Britain. MPs should be up for re-election every 4 years, and the Queen should be up for re-election every 4 years, staggered by 2 years. And after 8 years her and the first man (the D of E) would be out.
Can you imagine that most gentlemanly of royals, the Duke of Edinburgh speaking his mind at a rally ?
He must be so frustrated at only being able to express the occasional 'amiable gaffe'.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opini ... 26234.html
If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed" (to a group of British students during a royal visit to China).

"You can't have been here that long, you haven't got pot belly" (to a Briton he met in Hungary).

"Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" (to a wealthy islander in the Cayman Islands).

"How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test" (to a Scottish driving instructor).

"It looks as if it was put in by an Indian" (referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh).

"Still throwing spears?" (question put to an Aboriginal Australian during a visit).

"There's a lot of your family in tonight" (after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a Palace reception for British Indians).

"The Philippines must be half-empty as you're all here running the NHS" (on meeting a Filipino nurse at Luton and Dunstable Hospital).
Some of those are tasteless, and some are witty observations. The comment about the “fuse box” is likely in reference to personal experience. The comment about the Filipina nurse is pretty much true and not insulting at all; no doubt the nurse in question knows how much the economy of the Philippines relies on overseas workers. People joke about the Scots all the time, and the French, Germans, Italians, etc,. (Not to mention sheep shaggers in the valleys - which also extends to jibes at people from Yorkshire too.)

The comments about Chinese and Australians leaves a nasty taste for sure. The stupidity of the article is its attempt to make out run of the mill comments to be “rascist” or “xenophobic.” It is becoming more and more a common practice sadly. If things escalate more (such as referring to critique of a religion as “racism”) then the accusers will quickly become the accused.
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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Greta » November 7th, 2018, 3:26 am

That's all very well, BG, but should we hold world leaders to higher standards than the average person?

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Burning ghost » November 7th, 2018, 4:01 am

Greta wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 3:26 am
That's all very well, BG, but should we hold world leaders to higher standards than the average person?
Huh? I am saying we shouldn’t conflate non-bigotry with bigotry for quite reasons. I didn’t make any claim that we shouldn’t have “standards” and don’t see why you need this to be made this explicit?

World leaders like Trump or Putin? If you have a point what is the context? Should I judge someones ability to swim by their moral disposition? How far are we pushing this? Do I believe either of those individuals meet my standards? No, they don’t. I will say that someone may be morally questionable and yet still get good things done - my strong belief is that the “better” the character the more likely it is they’ll achieve net benefits within their given expertise (I call that more a faith in humanity and self though, not really a general judgement of character based on political speeches.)

Are we to pretend to be naive about political discourse and how rhetoric is used to influence voters and get more support? I think the person who runs the country reflects the people, they reflect the poltical climate and the votes falling to those people who find something appealing in the rhetoric and/or policies eskewed or otherwise.

I don’t understand the context of your question. Surely if someone says something abhorrent publicly then we’ll respond as we see fit. I don’t think feeding the monster helps. Assuming that everything someone you like says is evil or wrong simply because they say it is ridiculous. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard constantly.

If you wish to analyse someone’s speech with the intent to discredit them you’re hardly likely to their words without bias. All that happens is you manifest the proclivity to view someone’s words in a certain light. It makes perfect sense to guard against this in order not to belittle the heinous words spoken by equating them with trivial words that are highly subjective and open to interpretation (see above with the comments made by Phillip - some clearly racist, intentionally or not, and others pushed to represent “bigotry” and “racist” to flesh out the article. Sadly they make his horrible words seem less obnoxious when put alongside trivial and jovial remarks.)
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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Greta » November 7th, 2018, 5:44 pm

BG, my point exactly was that such jovial remarks seem a lot less problematic when uttered by those without holding diplomatic responsibilities that affect the lives of millions, maybe billions.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Burning ghost » November 7th, 2018, 11:09 pm

Greta wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 5:44 pm
BG, my point exactly was that such jovial remarks seem a lot less problematic when uttered by those without holding diplomatic responsibilities that affect the lives of millions, maybe billions.
What do you mean “seem a lot less problematic”? They are not problematic at all unless you wish to call them bigoted or racist remaeks (which the ones I mentioned are not) - in which case you’ve made the problem by lacking a sense of humour and/or knowledge.

Just because ignorant people don’t understand things it doesn’t mean things should be dumbed down. If people are looking to be offended they’ll find something quickly enough.
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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Greta » November 8th, 2018, 1:20 am

Burning ghost wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 11:09 pm
Just because ignorant people don’t understand things it doesn’t mean things should be dumbed down.
Yet they have been.

Further, it's not always the unreasonable "ignorant" masses who are offended but the targets of his casual slights. I do think it reasonable to empathise with them too.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Burning ghost » November 8th, 2018, 2:06 am

Greta wrote:
November 8th, 2018, 1:20 am
Burning ghost wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 11:09 pm
Just because ignorant people don’t understand things it doesn’t mean things should be dumbed down.
Yet they have been.

Further, it's not always the unreasonable "ignorant" masses who are offended but the targets of his casual slights. I do think it reasonable to empathise with them too.
You assum “target” as if a comment about nurses in the Philippines was a purspoefully offensive remark (a remark the nurse in question understood well enough being from the Philippines - have a guess have much of the countries income comes from overseas work.)

As for the fuse box, same situation. It is a comment about the sitiation in countries like India where things are not “fixed” but merely made to work again. I’ve seen such fuse boxes on my travels and heard many comment about them and use such things to give people the general idea about infrastructure of teh country - I’ve not been to India yet but my friend went there.

Do scots take offense when people refer to them as “drunks”? Or English people as “snobs”? Some do, but they’re just looking for an excuse to be offended.

My remarks are about the post I commented on.

To quote Stephen Fry to the hypothetical statement of “That offends me!”:

“So f**king what?”

I am not sympathetic to people look to be offended simply to voice their discomfort with an individual’s unrelated comment. If you were to upset or offend me with your opinion about X I don’t then try to pin this on to what you say about Y (or I at least try my damn hardest to guard against doing so - we’re all guilty of ad hominems to some degree though.)

What worries me - such as we see in the article above - is that tenuous (at best!) expressions of “bigotry” are being placed alongside what is commonly regarded as quite unexceptable in polite speech by someone who is meant to be some kind of representative (ie. “throwing spears”.)

I used to think the term “post truth” was a silly term. Now I think it is close enough and better to call it either “agenda driven”, misrepresentation, or misconception of facts.

All Trump is doing is feeding the growing need people feel for sensationalised news stories. Purposeful or not it is benefiting him. Virtue singalling is a good way to describe the most worrying aspect of politics at the moment. Talk of implied guilt, unconscious biases and such just make people want to act against their own views in order to play the game of acceptance over reason.
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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Dachshund » November 14th, 2018, 12:31 pm

Georgeanna wrote:
October 22nd, 2018, 7:13 am
https://georgelakoff.com/2016/08/19/und ... -language/

I found this article following a discussion on 'What is fascism?' where I mentioned Trumpspeak.
I had been thinking of the way he uses simple language to engage with his right wing followers at rallies.



Trump's "Make America Great Again" rallies drew huge crowds in the run-up to the mid-term elections in States like Florida, Ohio and Tennessee. The people who came to listen to him were members of what Richard Nixon famously referred to in 1969 as America's "great silent majority", a term which was basically code for those unobtrusive, quiet millions of "small c" conservatives who staunchly defended the traditional, White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant values upon which the United States was founded.They are the very same people who put Trump in the White House in 2016 and, across the Atlantic, backed the political outsider, Nigel Farage, to bring about the historic Brexit revolt which took the UK out of the European Union.

I think Trump and Farage successfully mobilized the "silent majority" in much the same way that Winston Churchill rallied the British public in 1940 after the fall of France when England stood alone against the formidable strength of the Axis forces in Europe during Second World War, that is, by using the tremendous subliminal power of ancient Anglo-Saxon English in their speeches to the people.

When he was asked about his gift for speech-making, Churchill said: "My method is simple. I like to use Anglo-Saxon words with the least number of syllables." The best words of all to use, he said, were the oldest Anglo-Saxon words (which also tend to be the shortest).

Those who criticise Trump's speech as being crude, primitive, unsophisticated, "dumb" etc; are typically pretentious, Democrat-voting leftist, liberal-progressive intellectuals ( NB, the Democrat party, if you are not already aware of the fact, tends to attract these elitist champagne-socialist high-brows like dog poop attracts flies; Isn't that right Fooloso4? Greta? :wink:) They are like those bad orators and failed writers who are haunted by the mistaken notion that ornate, flowery English that is suffused with "clever", longer words of latin, Greek or French origin are naturally grander, more dignified and effective than simple, crisp Anglo-Saxon ones. As Churchill says...

"The unreflecting often imagine that the effects of oratory are produced by the use of long words. The error of this idea will appear from what has been written. The shorter words of a language are usually the more ancient. Their meaning is more ingrained in the national character and they appeal with greater force."

I can scarcely imagine any person reading this post who is not familiar with Churchill's famous, "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" Speech , which he delivered in the British House of Commons on the 4th June, 1940, shortly after the miraculous rescue of the British Expeditionary Force who were trapped and surrounded by the German army at Dunkirk. I will therefore use the most well-known passage from that speech to demonstrate how Churchill intentionally utilised short, English words of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin...


"...we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,


we (Old Anglo-Saxon "we")

shall (Old Anglo-Saxon "sceal")

fight (Old Anglo-Saxon "feohtan")

on (Old Anglo-Saxon "on")

the (Old Anglo-Saxon "pe")

beaches, (Old Anglo-Saxon "baece")

we (Old Anglo-Saxon "we")

shall (Old Anglo-Saxon "sceal")

fight (Old Anglo-Saxon "feohtan")

on (Old Anglo-Saxon "on")

the (Old Anglo-Saxon "pe")

landing (Old Anglo-Saxon "land/lond")

grounds, (Old Anglo-Saxon "grund")

we (Old Anglo-Saxon "we")

shall (Old Anglo-Saxon "sceal")

fight (Old Anglo-Saxon "feohtan")

in (Old Anglo-Saxon "in")

the (Old Anglo-Saxon "pe")

fields, (Old Anglo-Saxon "feld")

and (Old Anglo-Saxon "and/on")

on (Old Anglo-Saxon "on")

the (Old Anglo-Saxon "pe")

streets, (Old Anglo-Saxon "stret")

we (Old Anglo-Saxon "we")

shall (Old Anglo-Saxon "sceal")

fight (Old Anglo-Saxon "feohtan")

in (Old Anglo-Saxon "in")

the (Old Anglo-Saxon "pe")

hills; (Old Anglo-Saxon "hyll")

we (Old Anglo-Saxon "we")

shall (Old Anglo-Saxon "sceal")

never (Old Anglo-Saxon "naefre")

surrender (Old French "surrendre")



"Interestingly", the last four words that Trump spoke at his rally in Florida were: "We will never surrender !", and I am sure that if an expert linguist were hired to analyse a transcript of any of his "MAGA" ( "Make America Great Again") speeches, s/he would find a the majority of words spoken by Trump were short, old English (Anglo-Saxon) words. The other tactic that Churchill used to make his speeches effective was repetition. It almost goes without saying that most people reading this post are already aware that Trump also uses frequent repetition of simple words and phrases as an effective to reinforce political points he wants to make so I will not labour the point. In short, whether he is giving a set speech at a major rally or speaking to the mainstream media or sending "tweets" to his many followers in the "Twittersphere" Trump employs two basic stratagems to mobilise and fire-up his conservative flock (1): the use of short, ld Anglo-Saxon English words ( delivered with gusto !) and the repetition of clear and simple key words/phrases ( e.g. "We're going to WIN, WIN, WIN", "crooked Hillary", "Radical Democrats, "Socialist Democrats", "illegal immigrants" and so on) to hammer home whatever political messages he wants to send his base, which, as I said are the "Great ( White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant/Christian) Silent Majority" of American citizens ( all of whom who are, note, native speakers of the English language.)



Shakespeare, who was, without doubt, the greatest master of the English language the world has produced to date, also had an implicit understanding of the great emotive power and deep visceral "punch" that Old Anglo-Saxon English words could exert on his fellow Elizabethan Englishmen, those for whom he wrote his dramatic poetry and plays.It is interesting to note, for instance, that although he employed the largest vocabulary of any writer who has ever lived, and crafted many English neologisms, linguistic analysts studying his work have confirmed that almost all of his most famous lines use the leaner, more simple and "punchy", ancient Anglo-Saxon. "To be or not to be..." is a good example. Shakespeare could have chosen to have Hamlet pondering, "To exist or not to exist..." or to "To continue or not to continue..." instead, but we are all thankful that he didn't because what a terrible loss indeed that would have been.


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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Eduk » November 14th, 2018, 1:02 pm

TLDR: I doubt Shakespeare was without doubt the greatest master of the English language the world has produced to date.
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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Fooloso4 » November 14th, 2018, 3:28 pm

Dachshund:
Trump's "Make America Great Again" rallies drew huge crowds in the run-up to the mid-term elections in States like Florida, Ohio and Tennessee. The people who came to listen to him were members of what Richard Nixon famously referred to in 1969 as America's "great silent majority", a term which was basically code for those unobtrusive, quiet millions of "small c" conservatives who staunchly defended the traditional, White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant values upon which the United States was founded.
Those who voted for Clinton outnumbered those who voted for Trump. Many traditional conservatives, including the “Never Trump” conservatives did not vote for him because Trump is not a conservative. Many who voted for him did so for one or more of the following reasons: they were gullible enough to believe that he would “drain the swamp”, he took an anti- abortion position, a pro guns position, he was anti-immigration, and White (taking care not to distance himself from the association with white supremacists and other hate groups).

As to the founding of the United States: many of the most influential Founders were not Protestant, they were Deists. The preeminent value of the Founders is the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. They did not live in full light of this truth, but as Lincoln saw, the realization of this is an ongoing task that requires ongoing effort. And to this day we continue to make strides in that direction. Record numbers of women and minorities have just been elected by the majority of US citizens. If gerrymandering and voter suppression is eliminated the results will be even more dramatic.
NB, the Democrat party, if you are not already aware of the fact, tends to attract these elitist champagne-socialist high-brows like dog poop attracts flies; Isn't that right Fooloso4? Greta?
It is Trump who tweets from his gold plated toilet. It is Trump who for years desperately tried to become a member of a social class that shunned and ridiculed him for mistaking crass for class. It is Trump who frequently called the tabloids and the New York Times using fake names in order to get publicity and draw attention to himself as one of the “beautiful people”.
"Interestingly", the last four words that Trump spoke at his rally in Florida were: "We will never surrender !"
It is more disturbing than "interesting" that for Trump the enemy is everyone that is not loyal to him, and anything, including Constitutional law, that stands in his way. Driven by his narcissism, he is willing to destroy it all.
Winston Churchill …

The use of simple words does not make someone an orator, otherwise every child with a very limited vocabulary would be an orator. Oratory, according to Churchill is a cultivated skill, one that goes far beyond using simple words and repetition.

On the art of oratory, see Churchill’s “The Scaffolding of Rhetoric”.

Oratory (Latin "oratorius")

Scaffolding (Old French "schaffaut")

Rhetoric (Greek "rhetor")

There is nothing that Trump has ever said or will ever say that comes close to Churchill's acclaimed oratory. To compare Trump’s speech to Churchill’s is at best simply ignorance and at worse sophistry.
Shakespeare …
You do not elevate the status of Trump by putting him in the company of Churchill and Shakespeare, you simply do harm to whatever little may remain your credibility. Yes, Churchill and Shakespeare, like Trump, spoke English, and so it should be of no surprise that they use a predominance of words derived from Anglo-Saxon roots.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Steve3007 » November 15th, 2018, 11:43 am

Here's a Trump sentence which, I think, was supposed to convey the message "I don't like the Iran nuclear deal":
Trump wrote:Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

If Trump was Henry V:

Once more - and everyone says I'm, like, real smart for saying this, I mean everyone, but the fake news just refuse to report it, it's so sad - unto to the breach, dear friends, one more time or, look, we're just going to have to close the wall off with our English dead, which, by the way, if they'd built the wall, if those coward fake-news French had built the wall, like I said, it would have been big and beautiful and there would be no breaches, I'm telling you that right now, no breaches, the Democrats want breaches, let me tell you, there are going to be so many breaches if you vote for the Democrats, or the French, I can build walls, it's my business, it's what I do, not like those French, I mean, in peace there's nothing more becomes a man than modest stillness and humility, and, by the way, let me tell you I am the most still and modest guy in the world, everybody says it, it's true, they all say it, how modest I am, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, we are not going to just imitate the action of the tiger, because that's what the Democrats would do, because they're, like, so fake, I am going to be the biggest tiger there is...



or something like that.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Steve3007 » November 15th, 2018, 11:51 am

It's good to know that the man with his finger on the proverbial "button" knows that "nuclear is powerful" because his uncle told him so 35 years ago.

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Re: Understanding Trump's Use of Language

Post by Eduk » November 15th, 2018, 12:44 pm

Stop being such an elitist snob Steve. Next you will want brain surgeons to perform brain surgery rather my mate Dave, who is the best, everyone says, I like toffee.
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