Figurative Language in Commencement Speeches: Speakers in the Entertainment and Business Industries
Figurative language is a commonly used strategy in interpersonal interaction. Although previous studies have explored the use of figurative language in various materials, its use in commencement speeches based on the speaker’s professional background has not been investigated. This study used 20 commencement speeches as material to examine the differences in the use of the figurative language of entertainers and business people invited to speak at commencement ceremonies. The results revealed that figurative language is pervasive in commencement speeches; the more frequently used figure of speech types were metaphor, repetition, personification, and parallelism. Moreover, speakers from the entertainment industry significantly used more rhetorical questions, exclamations, and similes than those from the business industry. Entertainers tended to ask questions to get their audiences involved, express emotions to reveal their inner feelings, and adopt similes to produce vivid narrations. On the other hand, business people employed significantly fewer strategies to emphasize their authority and highlight their objectivity. The findings imply that there exist certain variations in how people from different professional backgrounds use language, and further studies are necessary to reveal more of these differences. In sum, the data show that figurative language may be used to achieve several goals; relevant findings might prove useful to English for Special Purposes practitioners and to language learners as well.
Chang, Yan-Ling and Tanangkingsing, Michael
"Figurative Language in Commencement Speeches: Speakers in the Entertainment and Business Industries,"
Journal of English and Applied Linguistics: Vol. 1:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://animorepository.dlsu.edu.ph/jeal/vol1/iss2/4