Slamet Utama


This study discusses the rhetoricalfeatures ofBarack
Obama's and Hillary Clinton's debates. This debate was
carried out during the Democratic campaign period on
American presidential election in 2008. The main focus of this
dissertation is on the examination of the patterns of
Communicative purposes or 'moves' and their subsequent
elements or 'steps' of the arguments. The analysis includes the
examination of communicative purposes and persuasive values
of the texts, and linguistic features used to materialise the
communicative purposes and persuasive values.
The problem statements of the study are: 1/ What are the
rhetorical features realized in Barack Obama's and Hillary
Clinton's debates during Campaign Period on American
Presidential Election in 2008?, 21 From the rhetoricalfeatures
perspective, how can Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's
debates attract the audience?, 3/ Pedagogically, what lessons
can language learners obtain from the debate between Obama
and Hillary Clinton?
This study found that macro rhetorical structure of the debate
(ie. Initiation, Response, and Feedback) is relatively similar to

that of a common debate except that, unlike in common debate,
the Initiation is given by moderators and questioners, the
Responses given by debaters, and Feedback can be given by
moderator, questioner, or debaters. In this debate, there is no
interruption while the debater was speaking. The debater
would speak only if he/she was given an opportunity to speak.
And the other difference from the common debate is that
Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's debates had already
been designed by the Dream Team before the debate occured.
However, the communicative purposes and persuasions in the
debates are relatively the same. The debaters persuade the
audience to give them votes in the American presidential
election in 2008. The differences are found in the way that
rhetorical devicess use linguistic resources to realize the
communicative purposes and persuations in the arguments.
The rhetorical differences are caused by the differences in the
arguments of offering the approaches to solve the Americans'
The pedagogical implication of this study is that the debate
genre needs to be explicitly taught to Indonesian students,
especially university students in order to give them more acces
to the content of debate, and to develop skills needed by
Indonesian lecturers. For this purpose, an appropriate
approach needs to be developed; that is to teach the generic
features of debate such as in speaking.


discourse analysis, rhetorical structures, linguistic features, debates, genre

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