Creating and Maintaining Identities in Political Discourse

A Corpus Driven Analysis

  • Tara Coltman-Patel PhD Student


Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches, campaign speeches, UN Addresses and State of the Union Addresses given by Barack Obama were analysed. Using the Brown corpus and LOB corpus as reference corpora, the top 50 keywords in each sub-corpus and their collocation and colligation patterns were identified and used as points of entry for a further qualitative analysis. The semantic implications of the lexical items in the key word list suggested that prevalent themes throughout all of the speeches were conflict and the economy. A collocation and concordance analysis of the salient grammatical patterns determined through the key word lists yielded results which exposed a prevalent pattern of the key lexical items being ideologically manipulated to enhance Obama’s political identity and to create and maintain a relationship with his audience. This was primarily achieved through the rhetorical strategies of predication and parallelism. Through qualitative analysis, the key linguistic and rhetorical patterns were cross- referenced with the topic under discussion to reveal that they were primarily being utilised to discuss the salient discourse themes and predominant social issues of the economy and conflict.

How to Cite
COLTMAN-PATEL, Tara. Creating and Maintaining Identities in Political Discourse. Trent Notes on Linguistics, [S.l.], v. 1, p. 1-27, july 2018. ISSN 2516-3116. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 08 feb. 2023.