About It

The spectacle of the president's speech (George W. Bush, in 2006) was the occasion for considering the relationship between language and politics. This project examines changes in the language of the State of the Union address over the past 200 years.

State of the Union was authored by Brad Borevitz using Java for the analysis and Processing for the graphic user interface. In 2013, the interface was ported to Processing.js so that java is no longer required for viewing. A project such as this, although exectued directly by a single person, is collaborative effort. The work would not be possible without the kind of open resources that are currently available on the web. It required a good deal of research on hundreds of websites to build the knowlege-base that produced this project.

I have relied directly on the following resources to implement the code:

    • The interface is written using Processing and now Processing.js.
    • Date Format script is from Steven Levithan.
    • The search engine is Sphider.
    • Timelines are from Wikipedia.
    • Most of the text was from Project Guttenberg and updated yearly from various sources including the White House website, the Congressional Record or CSPAN.
    • JavaScript for highliting is based on code from Kryogenix.
    • JavaScript for switching style sheets is from A List Apart.
    • Methods for building frequency word lists were based on code in Andrew Roberts' aConCorde.
    • The syllable counting algorithm is by Daniel Schiffman.
    • Thanks to Christiane Paul & Martin Wattenberg for feedback on the 2007 version.

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