Tag Archives: State of the Union address

The changing language of US presidents

25 Jan
Seal of the President of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a fabulous article on the BBC News website today, showing the changing popularity of certain words in the President’s State of the Union speech between 1790 and the present day.

The big winner is ‘we’; presidents have used it more and more in the 20th century to stress inclusivity.  The big loser is ‘public’, which has declined greatly in frequency.

One thing that did catch my eye was that ‘United States’ has quite clearly lost out to ‘America’.  Not only is the latter simpler and more catchy, but I guess (and I don’t know) that in the early dates, there was more of an emphasis on the union of all the different states into one country, something noone cares about anymore.

Check the article out for yourself; it’s fascinating!