Starting from the assumption that text is nothing but phraseology of one kind or another (Sinclair 2004; 2008), and that there is no text which is not phraseological, both in its general and specific varieties, this paper investigates the pervasiveness of phraseology in political discourse, with a special focus on American politics. The current project is being carried out with students of law and political studies who too often find themselves in the situation of having to translate not only individual words (for which the dictionary would do) but phrases, which are known for being, more often than not, abstruse and opaque, and for having a very different counterpart or no counterpart at all in their L1. For the purpose of this research, we have relied on the software programme WordSmith Tools 7.0 (Scott 2012), to yield not only the most frequent words and keywords used by American politicians but also the most frequent phrases and key-phrases (Bondi and Scott 2010) emerged from the comparison of two American administrations. The speeches delivered by the former and the current president of the United States were the data of our study. Preliminary results seem to show that Barack Obama’s discourse contains a far higher number of phraseological patterns than Donald Trump’s discourse, both of a lexical and of a grammatical nature. Corpus Linguistics is here regarded as more than a mere methodology, it is indeed seen as an altogether way of doing linguistics, since it has the potential to affect both the practical and theoretical side of the study of language (Römer 2005).
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