Comparing the language style of heads of state in the US, UK, Germany and Switzerland during COVID-19.

Comparing the language style of heads of state in the US, UK, Germany and Switzerland during COVID-19.

Publication date: Jan 19, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a global threat to nearly every society around the world. Individuals turned to their political leaders to safely guide them through this crisis. The most direct way political leaders communicated with their citizens was through official speeches and press conferences. In this report, we compare psychological language markers of four different heads of state during the early stage of the pandemic. Specifically, we collected all pandemic-related speeches and press conferences delivered by political leaders in the USA (Trump), UK (Johnson), Germany (Merkel), and Switzerland (Swiss Federal Council) between February 27th and August 31st, 2020. We used natural language analysis to examine language markers of expressed positive and negative emotions, references to the community (we-talk), analytical thinking, and authenticity and compare these language markers across the four nations. Level differences in the language markers between the leaders can be detected: Trump’s language was characterized by a high expression of positive emotion, Merkel’s by a strong communal focus, and Johnson’s and the Swiss Federal Council by a high level of analytical thinking. Overall, these findings mirror different strategies used by political leaders to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Concepts Keywords
August Compare
Germany Conferences
Speeches Covid
Swiss Germany
Trump Heads


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO report
disease VO USA
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease MESH uncertainty
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
disease VO time
disease MESH infections
disease VO frequency
disease VO ANOVA
disease IDO infection
drug DRUGBANK Nonoxynol-9
disease IDO country
disease VO population
drug DRUGBANK Indoleacetic acid
disease MESH panic
pathway REACTOME Translation
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone

Original Article

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