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Use of CDA Theories to Examine Trump’s Speeches 8

Use of Critical Discourse Analysis Theories to Examine Donald Trump’s Speeches

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Examining political speeches is essential to understand that language plays diverse functions other than communication. Political statements help to create people with authority and power in society; for example, Trump is a renowned global leader. The following review offers a detailed critique of past scholarly materials on political discourse while examining an analysis that covers Trump’s speeches.

Critical discourse analysis is an essential tool that identifies the different attributes of communication and uses various theoretical models; to determine the generalizability and applicability of such new evidence to different social and political contexts (Bonilla, 2016). One can attain many underlying means from a detailed and critical discourse of a speech. Thus, his political philosophies and actions, if any, have repercussions for the rest of the globe. His statements have not undergone an extensive examination linguistically, as evidenced by the accessible. The problem that this paper tries to address is that Trump’s speeches have been given little attention to linguistically. It is, therefore, an issue of concern because his language could have an impact on so many people (Almurashi, 2016).

To address the importance of this study, the researcher aims to increase the knowledge of analyzing Critical Discourse as a way of a better understanding of the political dialogues of Donald Trump. This document explores the application of CDA to evaluate Trump’s statements aimed at offering the audience substantial knowledge-based concerning the vital evaluation of political discourse. The paper features parts such as the importance of the study, the significance, and limitation of the study. The analysis includes a literature review, a research methodology, and a summary of the findings. There is a uniform application of the qualitative method to analyze the describable elements of the language that Trump used in his speeches. The last part of the paper is the conclusion. It summarizes different parts of the research and also lists several recommendations.

Literature Review

The literature reviews offer a detailed critique of past scholarly materials on political discourse. Through identification of the strengths and weaknesses of such materials, it equally identifies the gaps that need to be filled by the study. It examines scholarly articles that cover both critical discourse analysis and Trump’s speeches.

Using critical discourse as a tool enables us to examine whether the language in political speeches is applicable in a given context (Bonilla, 2016). Additionally, Mohammadi and Jovadi (2017) also explore the utilization of power and hidden tactics through the use of language in political discourse. They found out that there exist linguistic elements that show the ideology in the text or expression used in political campaigns either on the grammatical or lexis levels. The scholarly material is vital in building an analysis of Trump’s speeches concerning a linguistic perspective. It offers insights into ways of using the CDA approach to evaluate the language in Trump’s statements and their meanings.

Chanturidze (2018) demonstrated the functional and linguistic differences between the two genres of political discourse (victory and inaugural speeches). He concluded that victory and inaugural speeches of President Trump demonstrated functional differences and similarities. This study is relevant to my manuscript to acknowledge that one can view political statements from both linguistic and practical perspectives. In other words, they present linguistic and functional characteristics. The practical perspective conceives language as a vital tool in social interactions and gets influenced mainly by the prevailing situations.

The functional perspective is equally supported by Bonilla (2016), who looks into “Trump’s discourse as a businessman and as a president regarding the topics of immigration and economy.” The study concluded that the conversations that he presented as a businessperson and as the head of state about the economy and immigration aspects differed regarding conceptual metaphors and ideological structures. According to functional perspectives, these variations can be attributed to the prevailing situation or environment present while delivering the speeches. The research covers the aspects of language and text as well as their functions in the discourse; it assists this review in explaining the similar things in Trump’s speeches.

Moreover, Chen (2018) evaluated political discourse and demonstrated the way speakers persuade their audiences to support and acknowledge their opinions. The study established that language form can portray the views, stance, and attitudes of people, which can reveal their intentions. This article used to support this review’s argument that Trump’s speeches convey texts that have political meanings.

Moreover, Almurashi (2016), focused on describing the Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) theory and its significance in the linguistic field. He argued that the (SFL) theory plays a significant role in the linguistics field by providing a functionalism tool for text analysis. The argument tends to view and evaluate language from a social perspective and its role in fostering interactions. This approach helps to explain the dialect used by Trump in his speeches as well as their functions.

Additionally, the systemic functional approach used in speeches helps in determining the role of language and the impact that culture and environment have on communication. The SFL assesses dialects by consideration of its sociological perspective. The assessment gets conducted by undertaking investigations on how one can use a language in social situations; it investigates the procedure used in discourse production and also the process that contributes to the rise of the discourse. In the introduction to Functional Grammar, there is an exploration of the information structure, language functions, and thematic structure. It, therefore, examines the role of language using a thematic structure (Weiss and Wodak, 2016). Additionally, the study points out that there is a close link between language discourse and social-cultural practice. The article, therefore, points out that dialogue acts as a social practice, thereby increasing contact among the society members.

Weiss and Wodak (2016) examine different social factors that may impact on communication and interaction among people. They also look into different oral languages such as newspapers, political dialogues, and advertisements, and asses their comparisons and differences. The study further explains that both the decoding and encoding depends on social and cultural factors. It, therefore, holds an informative analysis of the link between conversation and power and presented as an essential source in composing the paper. Functional grammar has well-researched insights on political language and may thus be used to examine Trump’s political dialogue. Furthermore, it aids in the creation of a classic discourse that examines the speech, slogans, and replies given by Trump during his campaigns (Krzyżanowski and Machin, 2017).

These elements were critical in realizing Trump’s objectives during the campaigns. They addressed the concerns of the Americans and promised the creation of a better future.

While addressing people’s concerns, it is essential to analyze Trump’s political objectives. Unlike conventional discussions, the study points out that political declaration often entails the stating of a person’s aim and promising new measures. With this, the author refers to different political figures and their speeches (Blommaert, 2000). Such dialogues aim to ensure the stating and cementing the speakers stand. It marks an engaging approach as it sheds light on ideas behinds Trump’s radical statements as they offer a glimpse of his attitude on domestic and global issues. A good example is in the topic of immigration and the plight of colored groups in the country where the President has a firm policy that opposes lenient immigration policies. Moreover, Trump publicly opposed the accommodation of immigrants in the country on numerous occasions.

With the intention of understanding Trump’s statements, a similar study has been made by Mitchel, who conducts a detailed semantic examination of the link between participants and the environment. Mitchel, however, argues that discourse refers to a form of communication and conversation among two individuals. The argument presents speech as a form of social dialogues that can either be verbal or written. The study further explains that it provides a platform where the speaker can express different ideas. The arrangement and delivery of these words depend on both social contact and social diversity. Hence, elements such as religious, social, and cultural contexts influence the power of the discourses.

In that case, studying the elements will be valuable in the composition of the paper as it captures the historical, social, and cultural factors that affect political discourses. It focuses on the historical factors that may have influenced most of Trump’s political statements. For many years, the country has had to deal with the problem of immigration and numerous social issues. The comments thus stem from dissatisfaction among many Americans. Moreover, they seek to offer hope to the Americans by promising the creation of a better society. According to Reisigl (2017) understanding, these historical and social events will provide better ground for evaluating Trump’s political statements. There is an exploration of the ideation function and ways of passing the speaker’s experience and views of the world. Trump appears to employ the ideational service to connect with his audiences. The author asserts that ideational function entails material, relational, mental, and vernal existential.

Although assessing Reisigl’s views concerning the components that form ideational function is essential, the choice of either of these elements depends on the experiences and behaviors of the audiences. There is a similar examination of interpersonal function and its role in upholding social relations. The speaker can use tone, mood, and personal pronouns to communicate ideas effectively. Trump employs both mood and tone effectively to push for radical policies on American interest. His speech illustrates his commitment to addressing social and economic problems in the country. Although some have termed as extreme, they center on the protection of Americans’ interests. They exhibit his concern about the USA’s position in global economic, political, and social structures. An example is a slogan of “Make America Great Again.”

Moreover, the study further points out that Trump base his political slogans on the need to reassure Americans of a better future. They are a result of the previous problem, such as inflation and terror attacks. The approach used by Van Dijk’s to critical discourse, thus associates both linguistic and cognitive concepts to improve the connection between the speaker and the audiences. Through the integration of cognitive theories, there exists a possibility of better understanding the speaker’s mind and the spectators. The argument rests on the fact that social and cultural factors have profound impacts on day-to-day discourses. Trump’s political statements are often a reaction to social and cultural trends.


Almurashi, W. A. (2016). An introduction to Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics. Journal for the study of English Linguistics4(1), 70-80.

Blommaert, J., & Bulcaen, C. (2000). Critical discourse analysis. Annual Review of Anthropology29(1), 447-466.

Bonilla, J. F. G. (2016). A critical-cognitive analysis of Donald Trump’s discourse across time: Trump as a businessman versus Trump as a president. In Actas do XIII Congreso Internacional de Lingüística Xeral (pp. 409-416).

Chanturidze, Y. (2018). Functional and linguistic characteristics of Donald Trump’s victory and inaugural speeches. Journal of Language and Education4(4), 31-41.

Chen, W. (2018). A critical discourse analysis of Donald Trump’s inaugural speech from the perspective of systemic functional grammar. Theory and Practice in Language Studies8(8), 966-972.

Fairclough, N. (2013). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. Routledge.

Krzyżanowski, M., & Machin, D. (2017). Critical approaches: Media analysis in/and essential studies of discourse. In The Routledge Handbook of Language and Media (pp. 62-76). Routledge.

Mohammadi, M., & Javadi, J. (2017). A critical discourse analysis of Donald Trump’s language use in the US presidential campaign, 2016. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature6(5), 1-10.

Reisigl, M. (2017). The discourse-historical approach. The Routledge handbook of critical discourse studies (pp. 44-59). Routledge.

Van Dijk, T. A. (2001). 18 Critical discourse analysis. The handbook of discourse analysis, 352.

Weiss, G., & Wodak, R. (Eds.). (2007). Critical discourse analysis. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wodak, R., & Meyer, M. (Eds.). (2015). Methods of critical discourse studies. Sage.


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