Peculiarities of Intonation Organization of Presidential Crisis and Military Speeches

Keywords: intonation, prosodic means, communicative move, presidential discourse, address, situation of crisis and military rhetoric.


The article presents the results of an experimental phonetic study of presidential crisis and military speeches. It particularly focuses on intonation
organization of communicative moves as well as some other language means of lexical and grammatical that presidents use to make their rhetoric practices as persuasive as possible.

The analysis of the theoretical material has allowed finding out that communicative moves with a high level of emotional and pragmatic potential
are mainly actualized by unidirectionally interacted means of different language levels – lexical, grammatical and phonetic. Also the level increases in the number of pragmatically loaded lexical units. Despite the type of interaction of language means, the prosodic system, signaling the dynamics of speech event, combining lexical and grammatical devices into a coherent unit, is one of the crucial factors in speech delivery which is not always achieved by units of other language levels. In case when communicative moves are of the same type of emotional argumentation, the intonation expressiveness of the statements, which provide an adequate actualization for a specific communicative move, is due to prosodically highlighted parts of speech, mostly notional, whose semantics allows conveying more pragmatic effect.

Results of auditory analysis allowed us to find out the way language means of different levels interact for communicative moves actualization in the presidential addresses. Synthesis of factual material has shown that when there is a sufficient number of lexical and grammatical means explicating intentional and tactical potential of utterances, the prosodic subsystems are served as an additional means of language. Moreover, their interaction
provides an increase in the level of actualization of emotional and pragmatic potential. In particular, evaluative adjectives or adverbs, used as semantically most significant lexical units, owing to their semantics which is able to express explicitly the meaning of a communicative move, is deepened through such emphatic prosodic means as modification of kinetic tone movement, more complicated melody configuration, changes in tone ranges, tempo and volume modifications that attract listeners’ attention and focus on communicative centers of a presidential speech.

The results of auditory analysis have found that accidental rise, as a means of marking semantically important segments in intonation groups, occur in the implementation of communicative moves. Accidental rise primarily marks adjectives, pronouns, negative particles and auxiliary verbs, the semantics of which is directly related to a specific communicative move actualization


1. Carter J. Speech on Afghanistan (January 4, 1980): the-presidency/presidential-speeches/january-4-1980-speech-afghanistan

2. Clinton B. Address Before a Joint Session of Congress (February 17, 1993): february-17-1993-address-joint-session-congress

3. Clinton B. Address on Somalia (October 7, 1993): the-presidency/presidential-speeches/october-7-1993-address-somalia

4. Obama B. Acceptance Speech at the Democratic National Convention (September 6, 2012): transcript-president-obamas-convention-speech

5. Obama B. Speech to a Joint Session of Congress (February 24, 2009): ?tag=contentMain;contentBody

6. Reagan R. W. Address on the Program for Economic Recovery (April 28, 1981): 28-1981-address-program-economic-recovery

Author Biography

Valery Savchuk, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University


How to Cite
Savchuk, V. (2019). Peculiarities of Intonation Organization of Presidential Crisis and Military Speeches. Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (30), 51-61. Retrieved from