A Brilliant Linguist Parses Obama’s Rhetorical Strategies


Last night in a graduate seminar, our topic was the key role that language plays as both a process and product  which we use to make sense of the world.   

Our readings came from cultural theorist Raymond Williams, but something incredible was published today on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com website that brilliantly illustrates how language —  including the words we choose, the ideas implicit in our rhetoric,  and the deep structure of our arguments —  is so important in understanding how politicians craft public messages. 

Check out this piece by George Lakoff, one of the greatest living scholars of linguistics and someone who frequently analyzes the explicit and implicit meanings in political rhetoric. 

In anticipation of tonight’s address by Pres. Obama to the Congress, Lakoff  looks closely at what he calls the   “Obama Code.”

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