|A me... speak... problem?|
Friday, July 28, 2017
Testing Trump’s Competence: Language and Cognition
As the linguist said to the psychologist…
Linguist: His language skill has plummeted, he cannot stay on subject, or complete sentences, he repeats himself, he’s incoherent, he has simplistic vocabulary and tangled grammar.
Psychologist: It could be stress, or anger, or fatigue.
Linguist: Other leaders can cope, he can’t.
Psychologist: Maybe he speaks this way to appeal to his supporters who also talk like that.
Linguist: But he can’t adjust his unscripted speaking style to suit the listener. He only has one style. You talk at a rally, maybe you choose to go incoherently emotive. You face an intellectual adversary, you switch to cerebral suasion. He can’t do that anymore.
Psychologist: Are you suggesting he is suffering from some cognitive disability? To determine that, you need to administer a psychological test to get data. He won’t submit to that.
Linguist: To a linguist, the data is there. Just parsing his speech suggests a serious prognosis.
Apparently he wasn’t always so linguistically disabled. In the 1980s and 1990s, he could give coherent interviews. Now, linguistic evidence suggests Trump is a severely linguistically and cognitively crippled leader. Political office demands coherent communication and crystal clear cognition. He doesn’t demonstrate this.