Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Semantics,vocabulary,semantic

An Adaptive Study on the Lexical Choices in the Public Speaking of U.S. President Obama

Author LiShengNan
Tutor LiBaiQing
School Central South University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Adaptation Theory presidential public speaking lexical choice
CLC H313
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Adaptation Theory, introduced systematically by Verschueren in his book Understanding Pragmatics in 2000, provides a fresh perspective from which people can interpret language in use. According to Verschueren, language use is a continuous making of linguistic choices by adapting to various contexts. Based on Adaptation Theory, this thesis makes a tentative analysis of the lexical choices in the public speaking of U.S. President Barack Obama from the following four aspects:language users, the mental world, the social world and the physical world. The whole thesis is made up of four chapters. Chapter 1 gives an overview of public speaking. It first deals with the definition, features and classification of public speaking, and then discusses the specific features of U.S. presidents’public speaking. Chapter 2 reviews previous studies both on public speaking and on U.S. presidents’public speaking. Chapter 3 focuses on the theoretical foundation of the present study. After a brief introduction to Adaptation Theory, the thesis presents the properties of language. Then it concentrates on the contexts in Adaptation Theory. Chapter 4 analyzes the lexical choices of the public speaking made by Barack Obama in detail. The re-analysis is made in four aspects:the adaptation to language users, the adaptation to the mental world, the adaptation to the social world and the adaptation to the physical world. In each part there are a great number of examples of lexical choices.It is pointed out in the thesis that the lexical choices of Obama’s public speaking adapt to different communicative contexts. The present study offers a new way of appreciating U.S. presidents’ public speaking, in the hope of giving some clues for learners to improve their public speaking skills.

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