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EnglishA:Language&Literature

InThinkingSubjectSiteswhereIBteachersgo
WebsitebyDavidMcIntyre&TimPruzinsky
UpdatedThursday25August

TheLanguageofDonald
Trump

Languageandtaboo

Thefirstsetoftextscenteronataboowordandhownounshaveevolved.Thesecondsetoftextsdealwith
Trump'scommentsaboutMuslimsenteringtheUnitedStates.Thelasttextiswhatsetofftheinitialmedia
firestormaroundhiscampaign.
Donotethatthispostcontainswordsandphrasesthatmaycauseoffense.Donotusethefollowingmaterialsif
theyarenotappropriateforyou,yourstudents,and/oryourcommunity.

"Shegot______!"
ClickonthislinktoaccessTheGuardian'sarticleaboutwhatDonaldTrumpsaidaboutHillaryClinton'slossto
BarackObamainthe2008Democraticprimaries.

Questions:
1.Isthiswordoffensiveandshoulditbeconsideredtaboo?
2.Ifitisoffensive,why?Whatmakesthiswordunacceptable?Ifit'snotoffensive,why?Whyisthisword
appropriatetouse?
3.Doesitmatterhowoffensiveawordisbeforeyouconsidernotusingit?Aretheredegreesoftaboo?
4.Youmayuselanguagethatismoreoffensiveinyoureverydaylife.Isthataproblem?
5.Shouldcertainwordsbebannedfrompublicdiscourse?Whyorwhynot?Whataretheimplicationsonfree
speechifthisoccurs?
6.Shouldpoliticiansbeheldtoahigherstandardintermsofthelanguagetheyuseincomparisontothegeneral
public?

"ALinguisticInvestigation"
TheWashingtonPostconductsalinguisticinvestigationonthewordusedintheabovearticle.Italsoincludesa
videoofthewordinquestion.

Questions
1.WhatisStevenPinker'sinterpretationofTrump'suseofthisword?Whatarehistwopossibleexplanationsfor
whyitwasused?
2.Isitaverborisitanoun?
3.WhathappenstotheEnglishlanguagewhenyouchangenounsintoverbs?Whathappenswhentheyare
consideredtabooorvulgarwords?
ExtensionAssignment:ReadthisblogpostbyOxfordUniversityPressabout"verbing"orthehabitofturninga
nounintoaverb.
4.Haspoliticallycorrectlanguagegonetoofar?Arewecensoringourselvestobeortoappearpoliticallycorrect?
Whatistheeffectofthis,bothpositiveandnegative?

HillaryClinton'sCampaignTweet

Questions
1.Howdoestheauthoruseahashtagtoinfluenceheraudience?
2.Isthehashtagpersuasive?Whyorwhynot?
3.Whatroledoesabsolutesplayinthistweet?
4.HowdoesthistweetbothrespondtoTrump'scommentsandalsonotrespondtohiscomments?Whatisthe
subtextbeingofferedhere?

TrumpPressReleaseMuslimsEnteringthe
UnitedStates
ClickhereforalinktoTrump'spressreleaseonhiswebsiteaboutMuslimsenteringtheUnitedStatesorseethe
screenshotbelow.

DonaldTrumpReadingHisPressRelease
Questions
1.Howwouldyoucharacterizethelanguageandnarrationofapressrelease?
2.Howdoesthepressreleaseusesyntaxandassortedsentencestructureandforwhateffect?

3.WhatspecificwordsandphrasesdoesDonaldTrumpuseinhispressreleasetopersuadehisaudienceofhis
argument?
4.Doyouagreeordisagreewiththispressrelease?Whyorwhynot?

ArticleAboutTrump'sProposal
ReadTheGuardian

newsarticlethatdetailsDonaldTrump'sproposalforMuslimsenteringtheUnitedStates

ReactionstoTrump'sCommentsonTwitter

Questions
1.Howdocandidatesuselanguage,syntax,andsubtext(amongotherstylisticandlinguisticdevices)topersuade
theiraudience?
2.HowisDonaldTrumpbeingcharacterizedandwhy?
3.Whichtweetismosteffectiveandwhy?

DonaldTrump'sCommentsaboutMexico

Questions
1.Hisoriginalstatement,inannouncinghiscandidacyforPresidentoftheUnitedStatesofAmericaiswhat
causedamediastorm.Why?Whatlanguagedidheusethatsomefoundoffensive?Wasit?Whatwasthesubtext
inhiscomments?
2.HowdoesTrumpdefendhimselfandrespondtohiscriticsinhisstatement?Whatargumentsdoeshemake?
Whatlanguagedoesheusetopersuadeyou?Isiteffective?Whyorwhynot?
3.Doyouagreeordisagreewithhisstatement?Why?
4.HowdoesTrumpuselanguageandpunctuationinhisslogan"MakeAmericaGreatAgain!"andtowhat
effect?

ExtensionActivities
PerhapsyouonlylookatanddiscussoneortwoofthecontroversialstatementsmadebyDonaldTrump.Astudent
couldthen,usetheothertopicnotdiscussedinaFurtherOralActivitytodemonstratetheirlearninginthispartof
thecourse.
Aswell,studentscouldwriteaWrittenTask1basedonthetopicstudiedabove.Suchawidevarietyhasbeen
writtenaboutDonaldTrump'scommentsandstudentscouldbringinatleast4differenttexttypesyouhaven't
studiedtoseehowothersarerespondingtowhathesays.ThatcouldbeusedasinspirationfortheirownWritten
Task1.
Allmaterialsonthiswebsitearefortheexclusiveuseofteachersandstudentsatsubscribingschoolsfortheperiodoftheirsubscription.Any
unauthorisedcopyingorpostingofmaterialsonotherwebsitesisaninfringementofourcopyrightandcouldresultinyouraccountbeingblockedand
legalactionbeingtakenagainstyou.

Feedback

Comments2

AdamSteinberg24May201612:13

Iwouldliketoseeonemoreresourceonthisgentleman,andwhileIhavethoughtabouthavingmystudents
actuallycreateit,somehowIfeelitmightbemorecompleteandcorrectifitappearedhere.Thetopicwouldbe:
Useofpassiveconstructions,hedging,andotherstrategiestonotsaythingsyouactuallysaidandcreateplausible
deniability.Inotherwords,onoccasionafteroccasionweseeMr.Trumpsayingineffect,"Icouldcallhima___

__,butIwon't"or"I'mnotsayingshehasnogoodqualities,butlet'sjustsay..."or,"Iheardsomeonecallher__
___,butIwouldneversaythat."There'sevenoneinPartIofthisresource.Yougetthepicture.Ifanyoneout
therehasalreadycreatedthis,pleaseletmeknow!

DavidMcIntyre24May201614:12

Youcouldbeontosomething,Adam.And,readingopinionpollsintoday'snews,Idon'tthinkMrTrumpwillfall
fromthefrontpagesanytimesoon.Makeofthatwhatyouwill.
David

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