Semester of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Arts (MA)


World Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Document Type



Language is a communicative tool that in the possession of politicians holds the power to be persuasive and aggressive, empowering and uniting, or disruptive and dividing. Previous research has relied on numerous methodological approaches to analyze political discourse from different viewpoints to reveal the manner in which politicians as part of political institutions transform and manipulate language. The current investigation performs a critical discourse analysis (CDA) based on the framework developed by Van Dijk (1993,1997) in order to demonstrate the speech act realization in a total of 14 political speeches delivered by American presidents Biden, Trump, and Obama and Mexican presidents López Obrador, Peña Nieto, and Calderón made from 2010-2022 at the onset of three crises: Russia-Ukraine, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis. The method of CDA incorporates the Speech Act theory of J.L Austin (1962) and Searle (1969), the Cooperative Principle of Grice (1975), and the Politeness theory of Brown & Levinson (1978) through a mixed-methods approach for obtaining quantitative and qualitative data. The pragmatic dimension of the investigation aims to address the following research questions: (1) What type of speech act realization occurs in the presidential discourse of Mexican and American presidents during times of crisis? Does these presidents’ discourse reveal any significant similarities or differences between the types of speech acts employed in their discourse?; (2) What does the implementation of specific speech acts in the political discourse reveal about the cultural and political differences between the United States and Mexico?; (3) What do the speech acts in the corpus reveal about the ways in which different political elites conceptualize their power and exhibit an image as a leader to their respective audiences? The results of the investigation revealed captivating similarities and differences in speech act frequencies, discursive strategies, ideologies, and political identity in the political discourse of Mexican and American presidents.



Committee Chair

King, Jeremy Morris, Andrea Orozco, Rafael