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Intertextuality as a Rhetorical Device in American Politicians’ Inaugural Addresses: Functional-Linguistic Analysis

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   The present article aims to identify stylistic figures, providing intertextual connections of American presidents’ inaugural addresses with other texts which are of great importance to the USA and the American nation. Stylistic figures are figurative and expressive means of connecting texts of the past with texts of the present. The stylistic figures “allusion”, “application”, “paraphrase”, and “citation” have been analysed in the inaugural addresses delivered by four American presidents (2001–2021) – George Bush Jr., Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joseph Biden. These stylistic figures determine intertextual contacts of the inaugural addresses with the texts which characterize the country’s historical and modern development – the United States Declaration of Independence, John Page’s letter to Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution of the United States, the past Presidents’ speeches, patriotic songs. Inaugural addresses form a well-established genre in political discourse, and this genre is aimed at integrating and inspiring the people as well as at performing and establishing President’s and his administration’s general policies. The analysis of the genre of the “inaugural address” is an integral part of political discourse research. Political discourse is perceived as a system of communication that has real and virtual measures. The analysis of stylistic figures which provide intertextual connections belongs to the study of the virtual measure of political discourse – its semiotic area. The analysis conducted in the article is based on political discourse research, intertextuality theory, critical discourse analysis theory as well as on practical papers on presidential communication. This article’s methodology includes methods of observation, deduction, induction, controlled sampling, and the method of discourse analysis. Having analyzed the inaugural addresses and having identified the stylistic figures which incorporate other texts into the inaugural addresses, the author concludes that, firstly, the ideas and principles formulated in the past and implemented in the country’s development concept are sacred and unshakeable, and secondly, these ideas and principles have a great impact on the American nation’s consolidation and integration.

About the Author

T. A. Svetonosova
MGIMO University
Russian Federation

Tatiana A. Svetonosova, Cand. Sci. (Philology) is Associate Professor

Department of the English language № 4

Spheres of research and professional interests: political discourse, presidential rhetoric, critical discourse analysis, semantics, stylistics, intertextuality



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For citations:

Svetonosova T.A. Intertextuality as a Rhetorical Device in American Politicians’ Inaugural Addresses: Functional-Linguistic Analysis. Professional Discourse & Communication. 2022;4(2):18-30. (In Russ.)

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