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Frequently used words in Presidents’ speeches

March 21, 2018
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Feelingstream team was challenged to analyse the speeches by Presidents of Estonia and Finland. What is similar and what is not? Could we draw some conclusions about the way presidents are talking to their nation?

We used a very simple cloud method to show the relative frequency of the 200 words most often used by both Presidents in their speeches. Word clouds are visually engaging, simple and most frequently used words will stand out in it.

Rich morphology in Finnish and Estonian languages

Finnish and Estonian languages are close, they belong to the same Finno-Ugric language family. They sound similar, have similar structure and similar complexity in morphology. Estonian and Finnish languages are famous for their rich morphology and the Finnish is listed among the 10 most challenging languages (https://www.talktocanada.com/blog/most-difficult-languages-to-learn/ or https://unbabel.com/blog/japanese-finnish-or-chinese-the-10-hardest-languages-for-english-speakers-to-learn/). Finnish and Estonian morphology often changes a form of the word drastically and loses the similarity to the base form of the word. Thus we need to apply heavy cleaning procedures to keep the statistical view right.

The word cloud highlights these words that appear more frequently in the text. The more significant word the more frequently used in speeches.

For data preparation, we cleaned the texts a bit - removed stopwords and converted the words into a basic form.

Speeches of Presidents

We used speeches which were given in their native language during the first 50 days in 2018 and were officially published in both Presidents’ websites. During that period Niinistö has published 7 and President Kaljulaid 17 speeches. The following word clouds for Kaljulaid and Niinisto give greater prominence to words that were used more frequently in their speeches. Feelingstream team created two word clouds, one generated by Kaljulaid’s expressions and the other by Niinisto’s.

Here is the word cloud made of speeches by  President of Estonia

Here we see the one huge word “Estonia” (eesti) following “country” (riik) and a “human” (inimene). All other words  are smaller. In this picture, there are 200 most frequently used words.

Here is the word cloud made of speeches by President of Finnish Republic



The most prominent word is “good” (hyvä) following “world” (maailma), “human” (ihminen), “country” (maa), etc.

Highlights:


  1. Both presidents talk as Presidents using “big” and meaningful words

  2. The President of Estonia uses 2,5 time more unique words (3 039) in her speeches but The President of Finland uses most common words more frequently.

  3. Therefore we speculate that President Kaljulaid has chosen the challenge to introduce more words to her listeners, she is not simplifying her speech.  President Niinistö rather emphasises his message to be understandable for all citizens.

  4. Another interesting phenomenon can be seen in using repetitive phrases in a speech sentences. We figured out that President Niinistö avoids repeating similar phrases in his speeches, it is when four or five consecutive words appear in different places of the speech. Whereas President Kaljulaid repeats similar phrases in different places frequently.

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