Thursday, January 22, 2009

One for word nerds

Tag cloud for Inaugural Address

I've been looking round for a good analysis of the Inaugural Address and got this from a chap called Ian Griffin. Here's a couple of examples.

There was the simple tricolon:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

and the tricolon with the third term doubled up:

The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.

There was anaphora, the repetition of words at the start of neighboring clauses:

Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.

and even more powerfully:

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died in places Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Although this wasn't Obama's most inspiring, let-me-blow-you-away-with-beautiful-words speech, he still made our politicians sound like bumbling, illiterate children. Who cares about the guy's policies? I'm just looking forward to some decent oratory over the next few years.


  1. Fantastic! It's fun to wonder how much of the writing is by-the-numbers, mention-these-groups-and-issues formulation, and how much is pure inspiration.

    Apparently his main writer's 28. Bastard.

  2. I love this wordle-thingy.

    I used it on the website of the German news mag "Spiegel" ( at the day of Obama's inauguration.

    Of course, "Obama" was the buzz word, but I liked the way wordle arranged the words "Kultur" (culture), "new" and "evolution" inside and around his name (

    And yes, of course there's "Hitler" around too, but that is just one of our German habits …