The Politics of Twisted Tongues and Loopy Lingo

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Donald Trump at the first GOP debate on August 6, 2015
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Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

On Wednesday night, 10 Republican presidential candidates will gather on the stage of the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the third GOP debate of the 2016 election. The event will be titled "Your Money, Your Vote."

Ahead of the debates, we're not just thinking about what the candidates are saying. We're thinking about how they're saying it. The GOP lineup features a wide range of accents, from Donald Trump's New York honk to Ted Cruz's Texas twang.

During the debate, they might feel pressure to soften their twangs, drawls and cadences to please a national audience. But Kara Becker, assistant professor of Linguistics at Reed College, says when it comes to electability, politicians are better off sticking their roots. 

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • How speech patterns from some regions benefit some candidates more than others.
  • Why political accents have changed overtime.
  • How a regional accent impacts a politician’s chances for success and their ability to communicate.