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Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
ISSN 2228-1215 (electronic)   ISSN 0206-3735 (print)

Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
ISSN 2228-1215 (electronic)   ISSN 0206-3735 (print)

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Vol. 56, Issue 1

Presidendikõnede sarnasused ja erinevused: kriitiline tekstianalüüs; pp. 187-203

(Full article in PDF format) doi:10.3176/esa56.10


Maria Tuulik


Similarities and differences between presidential speeches: critical text analysis

The aim of the article is to explore the impact of the New-Year speeches by two presidents and their methods of communicating with the audience from the viewpoint of text analysis. The article analyses speeches by Lennart Meri from 1992 to 1996 and Arnold Rüütel from 2001 to 2005. The representation of actors and processes was analysed as the ideational function, and communication between the presidents and the audience was studied as the interpersonal function.

The speeches of both presidents favoured material processes; hence, both presidents represented participants mostly in situations of doing and acting or, more generally, in situations related to motion and changing. The second most frequent type of processes in Meri’s speeches was relational processes and in Rüütel’s speeches mental processes. Thus, Meri referred more to states, and Rüütel referred more to thoughts, feelings, and wishes.

Analysis of active and passivized processes showed that passive processes constitute 12% of president Rüütel’s and 6% of president Meri’s processes. As active processes enhance the dynamism of the style of the text and passive forms make it more static, one might claim that President Meri’s speeches were more dynamic and President Rüütel’s speeches more static.

Processes with an unmentioned agent constituted 7% of President Meri’s and 10% of President Rüütel’s processes. And as omission of the primary actor was more common in Rüütel’s speeches, it can be concluded, that President Meri’s speeches were somewhat more concrete and President Rüütel’s speeches somewhat more abstract. The speeches of both presidents showed that the agent was not mentioned much more often in passive processes.

The analysis of the interpersonal function showed that President Meri’s speeches revealed more I-you level of communication and President Rüütel’s speeches more impersonal addresses. Thus, one might claim that Meri’s speeches were more personal and Rüütel’s speeches more impersonal.



text linguistics, stylistics, functional grammar, politeness strategies, deixis


Fairclough , Norman 1989. Language and Power. London: Longman.

Fairclough , Norman 1995. Media Discourse. London: Arnold.

Halliday , Michael Alexander Kirkwood 1994. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 2nd edition. London: Anold.

Kasik , Reet 2002. Lingvistiline tekstianalüüs. – Teoreetiline keeleteadus Eestis. Toim. Renate Pajusalu , Ilona Tragel , Tiit Hennoste , Haldur Õim. (= Tartu Ülikooli üldkeeleteaduse õppetooli toimetised 4.) Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus , 74–88.

Kasik , Reet 2008. Meediateksti analüüs: eesmärgid ja metoodika. – Tekstid ja taustad V. Meediatekstide keelekasutus ja selle sotsiokultuurilised taustad. Toim. Reet Kasik. Tartu Ülikooli eesti keele osakond. Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus , 10–43.

Kukk , Inga 2001. Eesti rahvuspoliitika osalised ajalehetekstides – kriitiline tekstianalüüs. – Keele kannul. Pühendusteos Mati Erelti 60. sünnipäevaks 12. märtsil 2001. Koost. ja toim. Reet Kasik. (= Tartu Ülikooli eesti keele õppetooli toimetised 17.) Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus , 146–165.

Leeuwen , Theo van 1996. The representation of social actors. – Texts and Practices. Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis. Ed. by Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard , Malcolm Coulthard.  London & New York: Routledge , 32–70.

Pajusalu , Renate 1999. Deiktikud eesti keeles. (= Dissertationes philologiae estonicae Universitatis Tartuensis 8.) Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus.

Zupnik , Yael-Janette 1994. A pragmatic analysis of the use of person deixis in political discourse. – Journal of Pragmatics 21 , 339–383. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(94)90010-8.


Current Issue: Vol. 64, Issue 1, 2019

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