“Yes, we can” — framing political events in terms of change
A corpus-based analysis of the ‘change’ frame in American presidential discourse
This paper discusses the importance of change in American presidential discourse. Taking the inaugural address as its data, the study proposes a corpus-based analysis of the change frame in American presidential rhetoric. Change will be shown to relate to two levels of analysis using a combined approach of quantitative and qualitative methods. Firstly, its occurrence as a lexical concept in the corpus at hand will be examined. Secondly, the study of extended portions of discourse will demonstrate that meaning representation largely occurs on the basis of motion concepts, including the conceptual metaphor CHANGE IS MOTION as the central mapping of the event structure metaphor system (ESM). As will be shown, the knowledge in the change frame is suggestive of ideological discourse structures, which attach opposing value judgements to the presence vs. absence of change, respectively.