Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number4  December 2020                                            Pp.426 -444

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A Semantic and Rhetorical Study of Manipulation in Two English and Arabic Political


Raid Muhammad Jasim
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq

Sabah S. Mustafa
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq




Manipulation is a discursive phenomenon used by speakers to affect the thoughts ( and indirectly the actions) of the recipients. This study is concerned with manipulation in two political speeches; one in English delivered by the American President Donald J. Trump, while the other in Arabic delivered by the Iraqi President Barham Salih to be the study’s data. Each one of these two speeches is divided into serial-numbered extracts( henceforth Ext.). The study aims at investigating the semantic and rhetorical devices utilized as manipulation strategies in these speeches. To this end, the qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis will be followed in this study.  The significance of the study stems from how the ideological dimension based on bettering off the speaker’s image and derogating others’ image plays a vital role in the political speeches. This study draws on Van Dijk’s ideological approach to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of political discourse, and accordingly, it is adopted as a model. Results revealed that both speakers use lexicalization, a list of three, repetition, and citing as effective techniques in their two speeches to affect their recipients’ minds. The study concluded that the ideological framework of “positive self-presentation” and “negative other-presentation” is the central umbrella under which manipulation can exist and work freely. The findings might help linguists and political analysts to understand how politicians use the linguistic features in their discourse to affect the audience’s thoughts and behaviors manipulatively.
Keywords: ideological dimension, manipulation, political speeches, rhetorical devices, semantic devices

Cite as: Jasim, R. M., &   Mustafa. S.S.(2020).  A Semantic and Rhetorical Study of Manipulation in Two English and Arabic Political  Speeches.  Arab World English Journal11 (4) 426 -444.


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Dr. Sabah S. Mustafa is a professor of Linguistics and Translation in the Department of English,
University of Baghdad, College of Languages in which he has been teaching English since 1987.
He has published several articles in the area of Linguistics and Translation. His research interests
are contrastive linguistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis. He is currently
Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Languages. ORCid: