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Analysis of the Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation of Americans (A Part of Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy)

By Lauren Henderson,2014-10-02 17:58
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Analysis of the Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation of Americans (A Part of Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy)

Analysis of the Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation of

    Americans (A Part of Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy)

    Abstract: This thesis sets to analyze the famous speech of John F. Kennedy. This is one of the most classic speeches in history. It has been translated into countless languages and it is often paraphrased. There’s also something we can learn about English Linguistics in this speech. So I would like to analyze it.

Key Words: Speech, John F. Kennedy, Analogy, Reference, Illocutionary act, Perlocutionary

    act, Truth conditions.

Analysis:

    1. Speech: Let’s take a look to this speech first;

    And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for youask what you can

    do for your country.

    My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

    Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.(International Speech Master,P74,75)

2. Analogy: At first Kennedy said thatmy fellow Americans, ask not what your country can

    do for youask what you can do for your country. And then he said that——my fellow

    citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for

    the freedom of man. It is the analogy. He used the process of comparing things which

    Americans should do with things which citizens of the world should do that they have similar features. He mentioned the Americans to think about what they can do for their country to elicit people in other countries think about what they can do for the freedom of human beings. That was also the cultural transmission and cultural diffusion. Finally, whether you are

    citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. This sentence also an analogy——it said that what

    Americans should do to elicit the most important thing that no matter which country you came from, you should do something with us.

    3. Reference: There are reference sentences in this speech. Ask of us here the same high

    standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. Here is the endophoric reference

    (English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook;P89)which we ask of you refers to the words

    the same standards of strength. Reference means a written statement describing your character and abilities when you are trying to get a new job, or the person who writes this statement.And there is the other sentence——asking His blessing and His help, but knowing

    that here on earth God's work must truly be our own——the word His blessing and His help

    refer to God’s blessing and God’s help. The former mention had refers to the latter. That’s the anaphoric reference (English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook;P89).

    4. Speech acts: A speech act itself can be performing three acts at the same time (English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook;P145). And this speech includes illocutionary

    act and perlocutionary act. Illocutionary act is the intended act behind saying something ( English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook;P145).The words we can do for the freedom of

    man and let us go forth to lead the land we love showed what they planned to do after the

    speech. And they needed to do was to free the whole world. With a good conscience our only

    sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds——the sentence give us effects of what

    would happen: A good conscience reward and the history would remember what they had done. It is the intended effect or happening of an illocutionary act which called perlocutionary act (English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook;P145).

    5. Truth conditions: Asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own——a really interesting sentence! Because you can feel the

    strong emotion from the speech. It seems that this work he mention would finally realize. They must do the work whether the God help them or no. If one knows the truth conditions for a given statement or proposition, one also knows the meaning of the sentence that conveys the expression(English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook;P125). So I think there are two

    truth conditions we must fid out. The first one is we can not sure if there is a God in the world. Many people believe that God is really existent, but no one can prove it. The second one is whether the work belongs to everyone like he said——in surface, the work means the

    freedom of man, actually it is a game which Americans want to control the world but they had to be the peaceful ambassador because of the Soviet Union at 1960s. As we all know, the two countries were compete to each other at that time. When America realize that it was not the only superpower more, it began to say something about peace to avoid the war that may happen between the two countries. The work was not the God’s work but the human beings’ or

    even only the Americans work. So the true words may be say in this way——God bless

    America and you must listen to God to protect our country.

    6. Opinion: Thought I think there are two truth conditions that need to think them over, it still a very great speech by John F. Kennedy. It is said that the speech was written by Kennedy himself. I guess he was a good learner of English Linguistics because his words were full of Linguistics knowledge. And what I analyze in this paper just a small part of his one speech. I also accept an important idea that——ask not what your country can do for you but what you

    can do for your country. We need the spirit so that we can make more contributions to China. And the speech itself had a great effect in history——it really changed the course of history.

    So many people were so deeply moved by John F. Kennedy’s words that a whole generation changed the way they viewed the world. Volunteer organizations such as the Peace Corp were started and people truly began caring about others more than themselves.

Bibliography

    1;陈新仁 English Linguistics: A Practical Coursebook英语语言学实用教程 苏州大学出版社 20096月第三次印刷版

    2;李阳 主编 International Speech Master 国际演讲家 广东音像出版社 20019月第一版

    3;戴炜栋 何兆熊 主编 A New Concise Course on Linguistics for Students of English 新编简明英语语言学教程 上海外语教育出版社 20092月第三十一次印刷 4; 约翰?肯尼迪 百度百科 http://baike.baidu.com/view/148537.htm

    5; 王永祥 支永碧 主编 英语语言学概论 南京师范大学出版社 200712月第一版

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