Mocking and rolling your eyes at our president’s tweets is a common pastime among journalists, but Donald Trump’s manner of speaking is actually a major source of his popularity.
This isn’t his fan base talking – it’s a linguist at Georgetown University.
Jennifer Sclafani, associate teaching professor, told The Washington Post that Trump is “unique” as a politician because, well, he doesn’t sound like one.
Case in point: Trump’s refusal to start a sentence with “well,” which helps him “come across as a straight talker” and not a slick, evasive politician:
“When we hear ‘well’ coming from other candidates, we’re more likely to perceive their responses as being dodgy,” she said. “And when we hear no ‘well’ from Donald Trump, we don’t notice that there is no ‘well’ there, but by contrast he comes off as sounding more straightforward and more direct.”
When Trump’s critics assail his way of speaking, they are basically telling the general public they are stupid, too:
The features of Trump’s speech patterns include a casual tone, a simple vocabulary and grammar, repetitions, hyperbole and sudden switches of topics, according to Sclafani.
As for the criticism that Trump sounds erratic when he changes subjects in the middle of a speech or sentence, Sclafani said that “this is something that we all do in everyday speech.”
Schlafani’s book on Trump’s manner of speaking and “political identity” comes out this fall.