The relationship between ideology and language is analyzed by using quantitative linguistic methods to measure the thematic concentration of texts. The assumption is that totalitarianism and democracy represent radically different types of ideology and that this difference will be reflected in different levels of thematic concentration in texts of the same genre. The analysis focuses on the New Year speeches given by Czechoslovak and Czech presidents; these texts were chosen because they represent a relatively clearly delineated genre with a long tradition and because they are one of the most important outlets for the public expression of political opinions by the head of state. The results of statistical tests show that there exist significant differences between the thematic concentrations in the speeches of presidents from the totalitarian period and the period of democracy. The analysis also revealed that the largest differences in thematic concentrations were between the speeches made by the presidents representing the most ideologically polarized positions: the leader of the 1948 communist coup Klement Gottwald and the public face of the 1989 democratic Velvet Revolution Václav Havel.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 7, 2012
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