Edited by Angela Smith and Michael Higgins
[Journal of Language and Politics 19:1] 2020
► pp. 71–88
Clinton stated, Trump exclaimed!
Gendered language on Twitter during the 2016 presidential debates
This study examines tweets posted by candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the weeks preceding the 2016 presidential debates in an effort to assess the ways in which the candidates’ language use either conformed to or refuted gender stereotypes. Analysis of 490 tweets (724 sentences) suggests that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton used language in ways that were gender counterstereotypic. Clinton’s tweets contained a significantly greater number of statements and directives, suggesting that the candidate adopted a more masculine linguistic style, but also a greater number of cooperative words, which are stereotypically associated with feminine speech. Trump’s tweets contained a significantly greater number of exclamations, but fewer statements and directives than Clinton, thus defying masculine linguistic stereotypes. The implications of these findings on candidates’ political self-presentation are discussed.