MAINZ, Germany — President Donald Trump uses simple language and catchphrases such as “fake news” to “further his personal agenda,” according to linguists. Analysis of his speech patterns and posts on Twitter shows he is the most “extreme” example of a politician who attempts to sound like the majority of voters.
A team of worldwide researchers examined the Republican leader in an attempt to find out how and why his language is successful with voters.
Some have pointed to repeated phrases such as “fake news” and “Sleepy Joe” for Joe Biden as a way to stick terms in people’s minds. In speeches, President Trump’s style often addresses the audience directly by saying phrases such ‘And I will tell you’.
He almost never begins sentences like “I think,” but instead emphasizes and exaggerates his standpoint with “obviously” and “certainly,” researchers say. When defending himself in the face of criticism, he quickly deflects and changes the subject and denounces others as the “true sinners.”
Drs. Ulrike Schneider and Matthias Eitelmann of the Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Mainz wanted to examine Trump in regards to how he attempts to control how others perceive him. “For example, Trump has a marked tendency to repeat himself and he uses the word ‘very’ up to eight times more often than other politicians,” Eitelmann says in a statement.
He also uses grammatically incorrect devices, using “the” when referring to minority groups. One example is when he touts himself for ‘doing great with the Hispanics.”
Trump rhetoric ‘simply serves to separate friend from foe’
So is the president’s language a shift in political communication in the U.S., or is it that Trump is just a populist?
“Over the past few decades, American presidents have increasingly worked to develop the common touch,” says Schneider. “Trump, with his simple language and tweets, which he uses to immediately communicate decisions to the people, is the most extreme representative of this general trend.”
Adds Eitelmann: “His populist rhetoric simply serves to separate friend from foe. His friends can include powerful businessmen, for example, while his enemies can be reporters who criticize him but who work for media outlets that are otherwise considered the voice of the common people.
“In this respect, Trump’s populist rhetoric can hardly be seen as an expression of an ideology but rather as a self-serving stratagem to further his personal agenda.”
The research is published by Bloomsbury Academic.
SWNS reporter Joe Morgan contributed to this report.