RWW: Semantic analysis of Obama’s inaguration speech

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has a terrific post that includes a semantic (aka tag cloud) presentation of Obama’s inagural speech and other past Presidential inagural speeches.
Comparing the Obama and Bush speeches sparked the following thoughts:

Bush’s speech seemed to be addressed to the  world stage and had much abstract language with powerful concepts attached: freedom, liberty, America, country.

Obama’s speech is addressed to the American people and has much more change and inclusive language: keywords are people, common, change, new, spirit. 

Bush’s language was imperial (we know that that played out), Obama’s language is inspiring.

bushs speec tag cloud.gif
rww obama speech cloud.jpg

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  1. Mike The Real Mr. Science says:

    I wonder if Kirkpatrick could be induced to run the same analysis on the Declaration of Independence and the Lincoln Gettysburg Address/First Inaugural Address. I bet we would find the same characteristics in those as in the Obama speech.

  2. Susan Mernit says:

    I bet you are right, Mike–and bet Obama and Jon Favreau and the team analysed those speeches–and Bush’s–before crafting this one.

  3. Jennifer says:

    “Bush’s language was imperial (we know that that played out), Obama’s language is inspiring.”
    Your dogmatic judgments about the semantic analyses of various “inagural” speeches are pronounced with the language of certainty and authority. The use of “we” (rather than “I”) presumes that this opinion of yours is an undisputed fact that everyone holds. How imperial of you.
    Words like freedom, liberty, America, and country are “imperial”? (Can you tell me the difference between Obama’s “nation” and Bush’s “country”, incidentally? Bush’s “America” is “imperial”, but Obama’s “America” is “inspiring”?)
    It’s just too bad that you weren’t around to edit the word choices of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and all those other “imperialists” who blackened pages with such words as liberty, freedom, country, and America.
    The biggest diff I see is that Obama DOESN’T talk about liberty, freedom, and the individual. How “inspiring”!
    By the way, if any one is word-clouding my response to your post: ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous!

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