About the Project

Welcome to the HKBU Corpus of Political Speeches, an online archive of speeches from politicians around the world. This Corpus has a web-based concordance feature, which allows corpus searches in untagged texts.

Corpus Data

In collaboration with the Hong Kong Baptist University Library, political speeches have been uploaded to this online database. The Corpus currently contains four collections of political speeches. They are:

  1. The Corpus of U.S. Presidential Speeches (1789-2015) (including Inaugural Addresses, Annual Messages to Congress on the State of the Union, National Political Party Platforms, Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speeches, Presidential Candidates Debates and Saturday Radio Address) [corpus size: 4,429,976 words],
  2. The Corpus of Policy Address by Hong Kong Governors (1984-1996) and Hong Kong Chief Executives (1997-2015) [corpus size: 413,201 words for English corpus; corpus size: 666,511 words for Chinese corpus; 1,079,712 words in total],
  3. The Corpus of Speeches given on New Year’s days and Double Tenth days by Taiwan Presidents (1978-2015) [corpus size: 169,649 words] and
  4. The Corpus of Report on the Work of the Government by Premiers of the People’s Republic of China (1984-2015) [corpus size: 590,022 words].

In total, more than four million words were collected for this online database.

Significance of this Corpus

The HKBU Corpus of Political Speeches is an important resource for all those interested in the study of political rhetoric. In addition, students, teachers, researchers and linguists may use this Corpus to conduct research on a range of linguistic issues, including research on morphology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics and discourse. The data can be searched for within a particular time period, which will enable analysis of diachronic language change. Furthermore, as in the future this Corpus will contain both Chinese and English texts in political discourse for the Corpus of Address by Hong Kong Governors (1984-1996) and the Corpus of Policy Address by Hong Kong Chief Executives (1997-2015), texts from these parallel corpora will be able to be compared and studied in order to identify suitable translation equivalents, which can be of practical use in translation and translation studies. Finally, as this Corpus provides empirical language data, it can serve as a reference for language learning, especially to those who are interested in understanding how politicians structure their speeches to win support from the public.

Research Team

Prof. Kathleen AHRENS (Principal Investigator)
Rebekah WONG (Senior Assistant Librarian and Head of the Digital and Multimedia Services Section, Hong Kong Baptist University Library)


This Corpus of Political Speeches is one of the major outcomes of the General Research Fund (GRF) research project entitled "Cross-linguistic Variation in Conceptual Metaphors" (HKBU1240014), which also received funding support from the Hong Kong Baptist University (Faculty Research Grant I) (FRG2/11-12/021) and (Faculty Research Grant II) (FRG2/10-11/049). We acknowledge the Hong Kong Research Council (RGC), the Hong Kong Baptist University, Language Centre and the anonymous reviewers for their support. We also thank the Hong Kong Baptist University Library for uploading the corpora and assisting in the design of the website and related search functions.


A number of publications have reported the findings using the data from this Corpus. They are as follows:

Edited Volumes

  • Ahrens, Kathleen. (Editor). 2009. Politics, Gender, and Conceptual Metaphors. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Book Chapters

  • Ahrens, Kathleen. 2011. Examining Conceptual Metaphor Models Through Lexical Frequency Patterns: A Case Study of U.S. Presidential Speeches. In Hans-Joerg Schmid (ed.), Windows to the Mind. Series: Applications of Cognitive Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter. Pp. 167-184.
  • Ahrens, Kathleen and Sophia Lee. 2009. Gender versus Politics: When Conceptual Models Collide in the U.S. Senate. In Ahrens, K. (editor), Politics, Gender, and Conceptual Metaphors. Basingstoke and New York:Palgrave-MacMillan. pp. 62-82.

Journal Articles

  • Skorczynska Sznajder, Hanna and Kathleen Ahrens. 2015. A corpus-based study of metaphor signaling variations in three genres. Text and Talk, 35(3): 359-381.
  • Lu, Louis Wei-lun and Kathleen Ahrens. 2008. Ideological influences on BUILDING metaphors in Taiwanese presidential speeches. Discourse and Society. 19(3), 383-408.
  • Ahrens, Kathleen. 2006. Using a Small Corpus to Test Linguistic Hypotheses: Evaluating 'People' in the State of the Union Addresses. International Journal of Computational Linguistics and Chinese Language Processing, 11(4), 377-392.

Conference Presentations

  • Ahrens, Kathleen. 2015. Changes on the use of JOURNEY metaphors in American presidential speeches. Presented at The 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC-13), Northumbria University, Newcastle, England. July 20-25.
  • Ahrens, Kathleen and Paul Yu-Jun Chang. 2015. A Lexical Frequency and Collocational Approach to Conceptual Metaphor Modeling. To be presented at the CKIP Anniversary Workshop on Chinese Lexicon, Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taipei, April 2.
  • Chang, Paul Yu-Chun and Kathleen Ahrens. 2014. Conceptual models as instantiated in PRC speeches concerning Taiwan. Presented at the 10th Conference of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM 10). University of Cagliari, Italy. 20-23 June.
  • Ahrens, Kathleen. 2010. The History of the JOURNEY Source Domain in US Presidential Speeches. Presented at 8th International Conference on Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM8), Vrije Universiteit (VU), Netherlands, June 30-July 3.
  • Skorczynska Sznajder, Hanna & Kathleen Ahrens. 2010. A corpus-based study of metaphor signaling variations in three genres. Presented at 8th International Conference on Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM8), Vrije Universiteit (VU), Netherlands, June 30-July 3.
  • Duann, Ren-feng and Kathleen Ahrens. 2009. Analyzing conceptual metaphors of referendum: A case study of Taiwan. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Political Linguistics (PL2009), University of Lodz, Poland, 17-19 September. 
  • Ahrens, Kathleen. 2009. Travels over Time: U.S. Presidential Use of the 'Journey' Conceptual Metaphor. Presented at the 3rd Conference on Language, Discourse and Cognition. National Taiwan University, Taipei, May 2-3.


Useful Links

This Corpus was created by the collection of political speeches from Hong Kong Governors (the hardcopy version is available from the Reference Collection section in the Hong Kong Baptist University Library), Hong Kong Chief Executives, U.S. presidents, Premiers of the People's Republic of China and Taiwanese Presidents.

Contact Us

Digital and Multimedia Services Section
Hong Kong Baptist University Library
Hong Kong Baptist University
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

Phone: (852) 3411-5239 (office hours only)
Fax: (852) 3411-8036
Email: libms@hkbu.edu.hk