Understanding the Linguistic Characteristics of the Great Speeches

Kristian Mouritzen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This dissertation attempts to find the common traits of great speeches. It does so by closely examining the language of some of the most well-known speeches in world. These speeches are presented in the book Speeches that Changed the World (2006) by Simon Sebag Montefiore. The dissertation specifically looks at four variables: The beginnings and endings of the speeches, the use of passive voice, the use of personal pronouns and the difficulty of the language. These four variables are based on the advice given by speechwriter Richard Dowis in his book the Lost Art of the Great Speech (2000). The variables are analysed and the results prove a number of things, the most interesting being, first, that there are patterns in the way speeches are begun and ended. Secondly that passive voice is quite common in speeches despite Dowis’ advice. Thirdly, that the subjective pronouns are significantly more represented in speeches compared to other genres and fourthly, that the language of the speeches should be neither too simple nor too difficult.

UddannelserEngelsk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato28 jun. 2016
VejledereAnne Fabricius


  • Speeches, Linguistics, how to write a speech