The Significance of Traditional Oral Communication | And this Can Partially Explain not Why it Happened, but How

I cannot attest to whether this rhetorical delivery was deliberately employed or not. But I agree as to how effective it can be. This delivery is intercultural, intergenerational (if you exclude certain gestures). It feels and sounds spontaneous, honest and personal. In part, it employs the good old salesman’s gigs. And it strikes that cord in us which yearns for connection and being understood and embraced without much effort. Or apology.

[His seeming incoherence stems from the big difference between written and spoken language. Trump’s style of speaking has its roots in oral culture.

Only a few of Trump’s big speeches have been scripted. At many of his rallies, he speaks off the cuff. We get a lot of fractured, unfinished sentences, moving quickly from thought to thought — what Trump calls a “beautiful flowing sentence.”

To some (or many), this style is completely incoherent. But clearly not everyone feels this way. Many people walked away from Trump’s rallies having understood — and believed — what he said.

It’s the difference between reading Trump’s remarks and listening to them in real time, University of Pennsylvania linguist Mark Liberman explained:

This apparent incoherence has two main causes: false starts and parentheticals. Both are effectively signaled in speaking — by prosody along with gesture, posture, and gaze — and therefore largely factored out by listeners. But in textual form the cues are gone, and we lose the thread.

In other words, Trump’s digressions and rambles — or, as he says, when “the back of the sentence reverts to the front” — are much easier to follow in person thanks to subtle cues….

Many of Trump’s most famous catchphrases are actually versions of time-tested speech mechanisms that salesmen use. They’re powerful because they help shape our unconscious.

Take, for example, Trump’s frequent use of “Many people are saying…” or “Believe me” — often right after saying something that is baseless or untrue. This tends to sound more trustworthy to listeners than just outright stating the baseless claim, since Trump implies that he has direct experience with what he’s talking about. At a base level, Lakoff argues, people are more inclined to believe something that seems to have been shared.]

Read the full article | VOX

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