Donal Trump has a way of communicating his message akin to no other perspective Presidential candidate. The term “Trump speak” implies language peppered with short blocky works with simple sentence structure. He is distinctive in his vocabulary and his use of language. He speaks in multi-syllabic words and simple sentence structures, making his message understandable to anyone with a fourth-grade reading level. This is exquisitely illustrated in the superb analysis below, which dissects his response to a simple question.
What is remarkable about this answer – to the question: Isn’t it Un-American and wrong to discriminate people against their religion?, is how simple but yet powerful the 220 word reply is. Over 70% of the words contain just 1 syllable and each sentence determines to end on an emotional buzzword e.g. problem. Only 4 words have 3 syllables and 3 of these are the word tremendous, a favorite of his. Not only does his 1 minute response contain simple words, but the sentence structure rarely uses complex structures or independent clauses. It reads like a child’s story book; straightforward, clear and forthright.
Perhaps, the most important take from these sentences, and what the listener remembers, is how they end. He uses powerful, blocky words to conjure up distinct (in the case below – negative) emotions.
It’s a purposeful strategy as it often requires him to re-arrange the makeup of sentences so he can end on a strong word. These words reflect the theme of the answer and create a narrative throughout his speeches. They are memorable in a way that the questions, and policy responses they receive are not. In-fact, much of this answer is incoherent if it’s analysed retrospectively.
Like the best salesman, Trump repeats a lot. He uses his favourite words over and over. He always seems to have friends he’s currently insulting calling him up and thanking him for the privilege…The best salesmen could sell you a TV without knowing anything about it. Because the TV isn’t what matters. What matters is you.
His speeches are littered with short sharp phrases to drive home important points, illicit strong reactions and manage the applause at campaign events.
Trump’s use of propositions – tremendous and enormous are common – don’t bear any relation to proportionality, but they do convey strong conviction. He speaks (not unlike a previous Republican President) in the vernacular of a third-grader, bad versus good, winners versus losers. He makes no effort to hedge his statements and this makes him distinctive. He sounds like no other politician. His use of the word “so” as a stand alone intensifier, to mean “exceptionally” or “hugely”, is everywhere. He also says a lot of things twice – simple repetition is a hallmark of any Trump speech.
The result, is that listening to Trump is comical and horrifying at the same time. The hyperbole he exudes is electrifying, terrifying and addictive. He’s a breath of fresh air for a public weary of political correctness and the use of compromising and convoluted language to impress their audience. Trump is fun to listen to. And who wouldn’t want to believe how things are going to be so good and in the tremendous nature of his upcoming triumph.