How Trump tweets: A comparative analysis of tweets by US politicians
This paper analyses tweets sent from Donald Trump’s Twitter account @realDonaldTrump and contextualises them by contrasting them with several genres (i.e. political and ‘average’ Twitter, blogs, expressive writing, novels, The New York Times and natural speech). Taking common claims about Donald Trump’s language as a starting point, the study focusses on commonalities and differences between his tweets and those by other US politicians. Using the sentiment analysis tool Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) and a principal component analysis, I examine a newly compiled 1.5-million-word corpus of tweets sent from US politicians’ accounts between 2009 and 2018 with a special focus on the question whether Trump’s Twitter voice has linguistic features commonly associated with informality, I-talk, negativity and boasting. The results reveal that all political tweets are grammatically comparatively formal and centre around the topics of achievement, money and power. Trump’s tweets stand out, however, because they are both more negative and more positive than the language in other politicians’ tweets, i.e. his Twitter voice relies far more strongly on adjectives and emotional language.
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