Language can be a very useful tool which helps us build new ideas and bring them into life. But at the same time, language can be a powerful weapon which helps destroy beliefs, traditions, and even nationalities. Will we ever find the golden mean in between these extremes? Well, for now you can try to do it in your paper!
In Part 1 we discussed a few general topics connected with the origins of the English language as well as with the relations between the language and culture. Today we are going to speak about the effect of the language in such spheres of our life as politics, science, and mass media. Of course, these are very multi-faceted topics, so we recommend choosing one or two particular aspects of theirs and write about these aspects in more detail.
Let’s see to what you can devote 10-12 pages of your research paper!
The English Language of Politics: Rhetoric, Propaganda, Manipulation
No matter how much you may try to wander off political issues, someone or something will make you return to them sooner or later. Whatever, if with your writing you can demonstrate that you stay abreast of the freshest political news, it will make an impression that you successfully manage to keep pace with this ever-rushing world.
And now you are going to learn how to reveal your interest in politics, linguistic knowledge, and analytical skills in a research paper. Let’s consider the following ideas!
Typical Rhetorical Strategies
Actually, the so-called political discourse borrows quite a lot of military terms. So, it is absolutely normal if you want to use such words as “strategy” and “tactic”, or some other metaphors. By the way, it can be a great topic for your research too.
Still, if we return to rhetorical strategies, used by political and social leaders in their speeches and writings, we can find a lot of interesting things, which we do not even think of when we listen to or read some news. For example, in your essay you could focus on famous political metaphors and analyse why or how they were coined by their authors. Or you could pay attention to repetitions and the rule of three, applied so frequently in both oral and written speech. You can even more linguistic and analyse how frequently the pronoun “we” is used by leaders of different countries.
Political Speech Analysis
Instead of working with several lengthy texts, you could pick one particular speech and perform an in-depth analysis of its composition, style, word choice, grammar, etc. It is also a good idea to provide some historical background info on the event the speech was written for and the speaker’s biography. But do not let it all carry you away from the core of your essay.
Here are a few remarkable examples for you to research into.
- Adolf Hitler’s speech on declaring war against the US (please stay as unbiased as you can when analyzing this speech).
- Nelson Mandela’s “Black Man in a White Man’s Court”: this speech is known as his first court statement, made before he was imprisoned.
- Nikita Khrushchev’s “The Secret Speech”, dethroning late Joseph Stalin and attacking the Soviet system.
- Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, in which he appealed to the American authorities, urging them to fulfill their democracy promises.
- Barack Obama on “The Audacity of Hope”: to some extent, this speech helped him win his presidency in 2008.
You can find more famous political speeches with the links to their originals in the article by The Telegraph.
Political Debates and Their Secrets
Debates of famous politicians can always make a good show. Whether you are a political scientist, linguist, psychologist, whoever, you can discover a great many of compelling things.
In case you are going to choose the debates and not the speech, you can analyse the same aspects as we have mentioned above. But now you should focus on the dialogue, paying attention to the way the opponents express and defend their own opinions, as well as to the way they debunk the opposite statements. Considering the last events in the US, you could work with the texts of Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s speeches. Or you can go back to the past and analyse the debates between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy.
Will English Become Lingua Franca of Science? Or Not?
This topic can encourage you to dive deeper into the origins of many scientific terms and stories of their authors. It is obvious that not all of the greatest discoverers and inventors were and are (and will be) native English speakers. So, is it that obligatory for them to able to present their achievements in this very language?
That is the question you can try to answer in your research essay. Nowadays the scientific works of non-English scholars can be recognized by the world community only after they are translated into English. The Nobel Prize would be a good example here. Is it fair? Well, more and more scientists of the 21st century are saying that it is actually not. However, currently there are hardly any ideas of how this language situation could be changed for the better.
If we could go back to the 15th or 16th century and attend some scientific meeting, we would find out that scholars used Latin. We know that the roman Empire, the cradle of this language, fell in the 5th century CE, so for more than 1000 years Latin remained universal in scientific circles. What is more, it did not belong to any country. Galileo Galilei was probably the first scholar who wrote his work in his mother tongue, Italian.
In 1900s German as the main language of science enjoyed the popularity in the Western World. After World War I, however, it had to yield to French and English. The latter, in its turn, has eventually become the monopolist.
In your research paper you can also argue whether that has and will have a positive or negative impact on the non-English scientific community as well as on science in general.
Mass Media & Language: What Influences What?
Here your choice is amazingly wide. Pick your favorite TV programme, radio, or magazine, and analyse how it attracts viewers, listeners, or readers. If you choose a news programme, for example, pay attention not only to the text, but also to the order in which the pieces of news are broadcasted in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It means a lot for both the programme and the channel, as it helps attract the attention of common people who either hurry to leave their homes for offices or search for a brief summary of the most important events before they go to sleep.
Besides, if you are going to write your paper on this topic or some radio programmes, focus on what scholars call paralinguistic factors, such as the tones of presenters’ voices, their intonations, logical pauses and highlights, etc. Check how they influence the way a viewer or listener perceives the provided information, which hints they may add to it.
If you are going to work with a print or online version of some famous English newspaper, magazine, or blog, take into account how the articles, reviews, and case studies are structured. I mean the headings, length of paragraphs, illustrative materials, etc. Depending on the general topic of the articles you select for the analysis, try to define original metaphors and other stylistic devices. Also, pay attention to numbers, quotations, and references. They usually help different newspapers and magazines get more notable in the variety of competitors.
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