Speech Analysis

First, watch the video of Martin Luther King’s “How Long? Not Long!” speech (not “I have a dream”). Then you will read the speech, and in the chart below, identify and explain how and why the characteristics are used (listed in the right-hand column).  Write your explanations in the left-hand columns, and as you do that, tick off only the characteristics you’ve described on the right-hand column. You may write using a small font size if you wish. You will then use this information to write a 500 word critique of the speech, in response to the question, “is this speech successful?”

With the exception of “Communication Situation”, explain how each of the characteristics work in the context and make a qualified guess at why the speaker has used them here. HOW + WHY = ANALYSIS  Characteristics of a Speech
   1.       The communication Situation What do you know/what can you find out about the speaker as a person?What sort of people constitute the audience?On what occasion is the speech made? Under what circumstances (physically/politically/etc.)?What seems to be the speaker’s purpose?
 2.       Genre What sort of speech is it? a political speech an informative speech a special occasion speech persuasive speech
 3.       Content o    What is the speech about? Give a brief summary in 100 words or less (approx. 10 lines).


 4.       Structure How is the speech structured? Introduction – body – conclusionIs there a governing idea running through the speech? What’s the theme or message?
 How does the speaker build his argumentation? What is the central claim/what are the central claims? What grounds are given? What kinds of warrants, backing, qualifiers and rebuttals are used?
 6.       Modes of persuasion/forms of appeal Forms of Appeal Logos Pathos Ethos
   7.       Stylistically devices/ Figure of speech ( choose two or three ) Rhetorical Terms Repetition (triads/the rule of three?) Imagery Contrast Irony/sarcasm Metaphor Simile Alliteration Allegory Allusion Anthesis Rhetorical question Parallelism Personification Repetition Omission Metonymy Lists Others
 8.       Selection of words Word classes: Verbs Nouns Adjectives High/low style Technical/specialized/professional language
 9.       Coherence Do the various parts of the speech relate logically?
 10.    Cohesion: How are the individual parts tied together? What connecting words are used?How does referencing work? (e.g. use of personal pronouns)
 11.    Text-external factors Appearance: How does the speaker stand or move about? How is the speaker dressed? Does the speaker appear emotional or detached? How? Anything noteworthy about the speaker’s gestures? Anything noteworthy about the speaker’s facial expressions? Which of the above do you consider circumstantial? Which do you consider part of a strategy for self-presentation or impression management?

You can watch these video on YouTube, if it is necessary 

MLK’s ‘How Long, Not Long’ Speech Archival Footage

The Three Types of Persuasive Speeches

I Have a Dream Speech: Summary and Analysis

The message of Dr. Martin Luther King. jr is relevant today as it was more than 50 years ago. His civil rights work remains unfinished. As long as there is injustice and poverty in the world, his ‘dream’ for all of humanity: males and females, rich and poor, blacks and whites, guys and straight and people of all ethnicity, persuasion and culture –  will live in the hearts of the righteous and be pursued by ordinary people. 

“On March 25, 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a crowd of 25,000 marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in support of voting rights for African-Americans. At the conclusion of the march, King delivered this speech, familiarly referred to as “How Long, Not Long.” The speech was defiant at times, referencing the violence that beset the movement at the time. In fact, a previous march on March 7 was met with a violent response from state troopers who beat and gassed marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. King’s speech makes it clear that the movement cannot be dissuaded after coming so far, encouraging the people to keep up the struggle.” 

Watch MLK’s speech “How Long? Not Long” speech.  There are two videos showing different parts of the speech in the instructional videos folder. Read the complete speech below and do the assignment.

“How Long? Not Long!” speech text

Speech Analysis Assignment

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