Languages Across Cultures
The two presidential candidates have very different campaigns, policy prescriptions, and rhetorical styles. In our analysis of the first presidential debate, we treat each speaking turn as a separate document and report the statistically significant differences between Trump and Clinton. The first graph shows that Clinton used more tentative language than did Trump. In her diplomatic role as Secretary of State as well as during her time as a Senator, Clinton was responsible for negotiating across the aisle and across the world. Negotiation requires nuance and compromise, and this is reflected in her more cautious and tentative language. On the other hand, as a career businessperson, Trump has sought to project power, confidence, and certainty, which is also reflected in his language.
This next graph shows that Trump used more negatively valenced language than did Clinton during the debate.
The following graph shows the difference in nonfluencies used by Trump and Clinton. Nonfluencies are filler words like um, err, ah, and mmm. We see here that Clinton uses many more nonfluences than Trump does. This is curious given that men usually use more nonfluencies than women do. One reason for this is that they try to "hold the floor" while formulating their next thought, so as to not leave "dead air" where someone else might start speaking. Given that Trump interrupted Clinton around 51 times, Clinton may have been using this typically masculine strategy in order to "hold the floor" to ensure she could finish her statements.
The next graph (femininity) confirms that Clinton's language was indeed more masculine than Trump's.
Finally, we evaluated Clinton's and Trump's language on the presidentiality dimension generated by Slatcher et al. (2007). There is a statistically significant difference in the level of presidential language; this graph shows that Clinton uses more presidential language than does Trump.
Languages Across Cultures at the
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