Date of Award
Master of Science
Arthur C. Graesser
Leah C. Windsor
The present research investigated the linguistic patterns in the discourse of three prominent autocratic political leaders whose reigns lasted for multiple decades. The texts of Fidel Castro, Zedong Mao, and Hosni Mubarak were analyzed using computational linguistic methodologies and nonlinear modeling techniques to explore the temporal trajectory of formality over time. Specifically, this metric of formality increases with abstractness of words, syntactic complexity, cohesion (referential and deep), and the informational genre (as opposed to narrative). At the other end of the continuum, informal discourse tends to have concrete words, simple syntax, low cohesion and high narrativity. The findings are aligned with theoretically grounded hypotheses of aging and persuasion in hopes of identifying which most appropriately explains the formality of leaders’ political texts.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Dowell, Nia Marcia Maria, "Modeling Language Characteristics of Leaders in Authoritarian Regimes over Decades" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 954.