When Donald Trump talks, he doesn’t sound like an ordinary presidential candidate. His sentences are fragmented. He jumps around. On paper, his words appear garbled.
But there may be a good reason why this seeming incoherence hasn’t hurt Trump in the Republican run for the presidential nomination: Trump’s talk mirrors typical conversation, bolstering his status as an honest outsider.
“[Trump’s] unique rhetorical style may come off as incoherent and unintelligible when we compare it with the organized structure of other candidates’ answers,” Georgetown University linguist Jennifer Sclafani told Live Science. “On the other hand, his conversational style may also help construct an identity for him as authentic, relatable and trustworthy, which are qualities that voters look for in a presidential candidate.” [Quiz: Bizarre Presidential Elections]
Trump’s style is different from that of most modern public speakers. He has an especially repetitive style, University of Pennsylvania linguist Mark Liberman has pointed out on the blog Language Log. In a December post, Liberman excerpted a sample of an interview with Trump in which he was asked how to defeat the Islamic State group.