News & Politics

What Does It All Mean? New Study Finds Conservatives Use More Nouns Than Liberals

Republicans prefer referring to things by their names, while Democrats more often describe them with adjectives.

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A new transatlantic study by a team of researchers at the University of Kent’s School of Psychology has found that conservatives use more nouns in public speeches than liberals. In other words, conservatives generally refer to things by their names, rather than by describing their features.

The use of nouns over say, adjectives, promotes existing ideas and familiar labels. In doing so, says the study, the use of nouns entrenches the ideas of “structure and certainty,” qualities synonymous with socially conservative values.

The U.S. component of the research — which also included Poland and Lebanon — drew on 45 speeches delivered by conservative-leaning Republicans and 56 speeches delivered by traditionally liberal Democrats. In sum, the findings showed that conservative political leaders have consistently used language that emphasises “clarity and predictability.”

And then there’s Donald Trump, who is a conservative entity unto his own. Along with a litany of nouns, Trump adopts a number of other tools to help draw his lines in the sand.

Take a look at this recent video by the Nerdist, which effectively demonstrates the subliminal power of Trump's language.

Robin Scher is a freelance writer from South Africa currently based in New York. He tweets infrequently @RobScherHimself.

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