Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number3   September 2021                                           Pp. 36-50

Full Paper PDF


The Theme of Unity in Political Discourse: The Case of President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Speech
on the 20th of January 2021

Turki Bani-Khaled
Department of English; School of Foreign Languages
University of Jordan,  Amman, Jordan
Corresponding Author:

 Sylvia Azzam
Department of Educational Sciences
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania


Received: 5/18/2021               Accepted:  8/1/2021               Published: 9/24/2021

This study explored the theme of unity in President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Speech on the 20th of January from a linguistic perspective. The main research question was: How was the theme of unity conveyed in this particular speech through linguistic choices? The significance of this work lies in the fact that this specific speech has not been subjected to academic linguistic investigation to date. In addition, this speech is unique as it came to mark the beginning of the new presidency with a direct focus on unity as a recurring theme. The methodology adopted a qualitative analytical analysis of the concept of unity as referred to in this speech. The study followed a thematic analysis in approaching the speech text. The researchers scrutinized every utterance for clues on the possible linguistic features that portrayed the theme of unity conveyed by the speaker. They also examined the lexical items concerning the concept of unity in the speech. The results showed that the speaker used appropriate language in addressing the theme of unity. The speaker used religion and history as a source of rhetorical persuasive devices. The overall tone of the speech was confident, reconciliatory, and hopeful. The study concluded with some implications for pedagogy and academic research.
Keywords: Biden, inaugural speech, political discourse, USA, unity

Cite as:  Bani-Khaled, T. , & Azzam, S. (2021). The Theme of Unity in Political Discourse: The Case of President Joe Biden’s Inauguration
Speech on the 20th of January 2021.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (3) 36-50.


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NOTE: Text source: Inaugural Address by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Retrieved from (no page numbering given)


Received: 5/18/2021
Accepted: 8/1/2021 
Published: 9/24/2021   

Turki Bani-Khaled is a full professor at the University of Jordan. He holds an MSc in ESP from Aston University/UK and a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Exeter University /UK. He has worked in and outside Jordan and held a variety of academic positions and published many articles in various journals. ORCID ID:

Sylvia Azzam is a former school principal and currently a PhD student at Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca/Romania. She earned an MA in Education from the University of Derby/UK. Her research includes English language and education for sustainable development in higher education.  ORCID ID: