A new study has analyzed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign speeches and concluded the GOP frontrunner speaks with the grammar of an 11-year-old, or a 4th grader.
The study, done by Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute, analyzed a number of speech transcripts from each candidate, including victory and defeat speeches, and campaign trail speeches.
Trump, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, uses “these very short, punchy sentences with small words, it’s straight to the point, it’s direct.” For that, his speaking style was compared to “The Adventures of Huck Finn” and “Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.”
Trump’s success is because he’s presenting himself as a big, comforting father who is here, at long last, to stop the white man’s tears. Trump is winning because of white daddy issues and his ability to talk to his supporters like they’re sad, scared children who need a strong, brave man.
He appeals to the anti-education faction of America — the ones that view articulation as elitism. I’m about to get nerdy here, but if you analyze his speech, he uses very simple verbs that are primarily derived from Anglo-Saxon origins, whereas politicians who view education as a benefit use verbs derived from Latinate. (Breakdown in case anyone needs a refresher: Engish comes from three home sources — French, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon. So that’s why we have multiple word with the same meaning. Abdomen — Latinate origin, most academic; Stomach — French origin, considered appropriate in both informal and formal contexts, we expect this word from adults to describe that location on their body; Belly — Anglo Saxon origin, easiest pronunciation and shortest spelling, most informal and childish, we expect it from and use it primarily with children; we do not expect adults to use this word when describing that part of their own body.)
So Trump makes very simplistic word choices, creates short sentences, and repeats them. He is literally catering to the lowest literacy levels of the nation. For instance, where another politician would say something eloquent like, “The loss of jobs to overseas manufacturing has manifested tremendous economic suffering in the United States,” Trump will say, “We sent our jobs away and that’s bad. It’s bad. I’m telling you now, it’s bad. It’s bad and we’re going to fix it.” And people lose their minds with glee. Because he talks to them like children.
Literally, the way you console an upset toddler by getting down on eye level, acknowledging their feelings, redirecting them to something comforting, and then repeating it in the simplest language you can until they say, “YEAH!” But the toddler then runs enthusiastically to the backyard to play, while Trump supporters beat protesters, spew racism, and worse, elect a president.
So basically, Trump is like a big racist father who says whatever you want to hear to reaffirm your own prejudices and convince you that he’s the protective daddy who will sweep in and rescue you from the bad, bad government and the bad immigrants and the bad whatever — he talks to you like you’re five and you’ve had a bad dream or the thunderstorm is loud. He coddles you with all the affirmations and promises you want to hear.