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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Obama and I, Me, My, You, We, Our

Mark Liberman at Language Log tries to set the record straight -- yet again:

Presidential pronouns: This time it's Ron Fournier: Ron Fournier, "Is Obama More Interested in Progress or Politics?", National Journal, 1/20/2015:

Count how many times Obama uses the words "I," "me," and "my." Compare that number to how often he says, "You," "we," "our." If the first number is greater than the second, Obama has failed.

This leads naturally to a different question: "Is Ron Fournier More Interested in Analysis or in Bullshit?"...

If Ron Fournier had spent a minute or two looking into the facts of the matter, he might have discovered... ALL presidents since WWII have used substantially more first-person-plural pronouns than first-person-singular pronouns in the SOTU messages; Adding second-person pronouns makes the disproportion even larger; Obama is pretty much in the middle of the pack on all the relevant measures. ...

Mr. Fournier is reprising a sub-theme of the Great Obama Pronoun Fantasy, variants of which seem to draw pundits like flies to rotting meat. ...

    Posted by on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 11:46 AM in Politics | Permalink  Comments (36)


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