English Language Teaching www.ccsenet.org/elt
The Interpersonal Metafunction Analysis of Barack Obama's
Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou Guangdong, 510006
This paper carries on a tentative interpersonal metafunction analysis of Barack Obama's Victory Speech
from the Interpersonal Metafunction, which aims to help readers understand and evaluate the speech regarding
its suitability, thus to provide some guidance for readers to make better speeches.
This study has promising implications for speeches as follows: (1) Positive declarative clauses are recommended
to convey information and convince the audiences with positive facts. (2) Modal verbal operators with high
modal commitment can show the addresser’s firm determination to finish tasks and build up the addresser’s
authority. (3) The frequent applications of “we” and “we”-“you”-“we” pattern help to create an intimate dialogic
style, which can shorten the distance between the addresser and the audience and further persuade the audience
to share the same proposal of the addresser.
Keywords: Discourse Analysis, The Interpersonal Metafunction, Speech.
Halliday (1970) states that the context of a situation is arranged in three categories: field, tenor and mode.
Corresponding to that, Halliday analyzes language into three broad Metafunctions: Experiential, Interpersonal
and Textual Metafunctions. Each of the three Metafunctions is about a different aspect of the world and
concerned with a different mode of meaning of clauses, of which, according to Halliday (1994:68), it is through
the Interpersonal Metafunction that users of language establish, negotiate and assume their position in social
relationships, and it is concerned with clauses as exchange.
In the past decades, a great number of research papers and books on Interpersonal Analysis have been published.