Corpus Based Study of Personal Pronoun’s Rhetoric in Obama’s and Xi Jinping’s Diplomatic Discourse

  •  Irungu Wageche    
  •  Changhai Chi    


This paper examines how first personal pronouns in English aid president Obama and president Xi Jinping to speak persuasively on international platforms. Drawing on four speeches, this paper explores the frequency of first person pronouns realized in both singular and plural forms and analyzes, within a framework of Critical Discourse Analyses (CDA), how these pronouns are exploited using modal verbs and tenses to attain and sustain rhetorical appeal. This paper found out that Obama deploys personal pronouns selectively with more I-pronouns realized in his speech in Africa and more we-pronouns realized in his speech in Europe, has a bias towards modal verbs that highlight ability and intention: can and will, and prefers the future tense. On the other hand, this paper found out that Xi deploys both the I-pronouns and the We-pronouns equally in his speeches in both Africa and Europe, has an inclination towards we-pronouns in his diplomatic discourse, a bias towards modal verbs highlighting necessity: should and need, and prefers the future tense.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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