From the NYT:
Measuring Trump’s Language: Bluster but Also Words That Appeal to Women
Claire Cain Miller @clairecm MARCH 14, 2016
Hillary Clinton, no surprise, sounds the most feminine of the candidates on the campaign trail, commonly using phrases like “incredibly grateful” and “open our hearts.” More surprising, the second-most feminine-sounding speaker is Donald Trump, who often talks about “my beautiful family” and “lasting relationships.”
But unlike Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump is just as likely to speak in overtly masculine language, especially favoring phrases like “absolutely destroy” and often using insulting words that tend to alienate women (and many men): “moron,” “imbecile” and “loser.”
This is based on 126,362 words in publicly available speeches by the candidates through March 3 and in four debates analyzed by Textio, a company that uses software to evaluate language. Textio ranked the candidates’ language in various areas, including gender associations, references to minorities and the frequency with which they talked about themselves versus talking directly to voters.
… Mrs. Clinton’s language is often about coming together, and she mentions family five times as often as any other candidate. Mr. Trump’s language is the most polarized between masculine and feminine, though he has been sounding more feminine over the campaign, perhaps to try to appeal to female voters. …
Ted Cruz is the most masculine and aggressive speaker of all, Textio found, and much more masculine than Mrs. Clinton is feminine. He rarely uses feminine words, favoring “relentless,” “hunt down” and “totally destroy.”
Bernie Sanders’s average language is more masculine than Mr. Trump’s, but not as masculine as Marco Rubio’s. Mr. Sanders’s speech has been getting more masculine over time. …
Software is imperfect at understanding human language because it misses important clues like gestures, tone of voice and facial expressions, said Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, who in 1975 published a book, “Language and Woman’s Place,” that led to a variety of research on language and gender.
Based on these nonverbal cues, she concluded that Mr. Trump was the most feminine speaker of all the candidates, even more than Mrs. Clinton — he gestures a lot, is very expressive, poses statements as questions and repeatedly explains himself, all of which are commonly feminine, she said.
Also in line with the Textio analysis, she said that Mr. Cruz spoke in the most masculine way, with few gestures or expressions, and with flat intonation and short, declarative sentences. …
I don’t watch a lot of the candidates on TV, but my impression is that the various elements of Cruz’s affect — facial expressions, intonation, words, etc. — aren’t seamlessly integrated.
The candidates who refer to minorities most are Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton, and the references are always positive. Mr. Trump is the only candidate who speaks about minorities more negatively than positively, and over half the negative references are about people from Mexico.
Illegal alien people from Mexico.
… Less so Mr. Trump: He talks about himself more than any other candidate, using “I” or “we” 212 times per 1,000 words, and addresses voters directly less than anyone, 42 times per 1,000 words. In that way, his language is more like that of a business tycoon than a politician, according to Textio’s analysis. The previous presidential candidate who spoke most similarly to Mr. Trump? Ross Perot.
Another feminine aspect to Trump is that he Takes Everything Personally. Trump’s is an extreme version of this trait that’s actually pretty common among Big Men, who, in contrast to Nerds, are very aware of their individual human relationships.
In contrast, Reagan tended to be focused on principles and used individuals in his speeches as examples of general patterns. A competent newspaper columnist, Reagan was fairly abstracted and disengaged from actual individual people around him (as his children regretted), especially for a movie star. Reagan always regretted losing out to Humphrey Bogart the roles of Rick in Casablanca and Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of Sierra Madre, but Bogart was an all-time great at being in the moment with his costars, while Reagan as an actor was a little bit like Ben Affleck: serviceable, but not fully engaged. Reagan was a fine craftsman of acting, but not a genius at it.
I’ve always wondered why the key moment in the 1980 presidential debate was Reagan joshing Carter with “There you go again.” I never understood what was so awesome about it, but I think now that it was the moment when Reagan came down to the man0-a-mano level and exerted interpersonal dominance by dissing the President to his face. But then I’m not a Big Man, so I only understand these things at an abstract/empirical level, while Trump has an extraordinarily intuitive sales talent.