A Critical Discourse Analysis Of Negation In The Inaugural Speeches Of Two Nigerian President – Complete project material


This study is a critical discourse analysis of negation in the inaugural speeches of two Nigerian Presidents. The study aims at finding out if negation performs certain statement. The data used for the analysis are from the speeches of the two Presidents, Goodluck Jonathan and Musa Yar’Adua. The speeches were adopted from different websites.  The analysis employed the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) frame work. Specifically the Fairclough’s model of analysis was used. Fairclough’s model of CDA consist of three (3) components which are; description, interpretation and explanation. These three components where the analytical procedure employed to bring out the different functions negation performs in the speeches .The study found out that negation performed different functions aside negating the truth-value of an affirmative statement. These functions include the ability to establish a common ground, as a form of false dilemma, as a form of additive, quantifier, as a form of mitigation and as other functions. It is used by politicians to exercise power over their audience and to show power struggle. It is political when the use of negation aims at persuading, deceiving the populace and gaining the support of the audience.



1.0       Introduction

This study focuses on the use of negation in presidential speeches. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and other methodologies are used in other to explain the different forms of negation and their function in the inaugural speeches of two Nigerian Presidents, GoodLuckEbeleJonahan and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The chapter will give an insight into the background to the study; statement of the problem, purpose of the study; objectives of the study, significance of the study and lastly, the scope of the study. The knowledge to be derived from this study will enable one to analyse political speeches such as campaigns and formal speeches delivered by political figures and also the functions of negation in such speeches.

1.1       Background to the Study    

            Language is used as a means of communication, which helps people to interact with one another socially and emotionally in our society. Human beings understand each other by the process of speaking. Philips etalcited in Ahmed, views speaking as the comment that holds friendships, families, communities, societies and government together (1). Thus, for any significant development to occur in a society, people have to engage in communication. One of the ways of studying language use in the society is discourse analysis. Discourse is a means of communication seen as transaction between a speaker and a hearer and as inter-personal activities whose form is determined by its social purpose. Discourse Analysis on the other hand focuses on the structures of natural occurring spoken Languages found in ‘discourse’ as in conversations and speeches. Critical Discourse Analysis is a branch of Discourse Analysis that perceives Language use as a social practice. The users of Language do not function in isolation, but in a set of cultural, social and psychological frameworks. CDA accepts this social context and studies the connections between textual structures by taking this social context into account and explores the link between textual structures and their function within the society.

Fairclough in his definition perceives CDA as; discourse analysis which aims to systematically explore often opaque relationships of causality and determination between (a) discursive practice, events and texts, and (b) wider social and cultural structures, relations and processes; to investigate how such practices events and texts arise out of and are ideologically shaped by relationships between discourse and society is itself a factor securing power and hegemony (135). “Critical’ implies showing connections and causes which are hidden; it also implies intervention, for example, providing resources for those who may be disadvantaged through change” (Fairclough). CDA studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced and restricted by text and talk in the social and political context. Language is used in discourse and every language has the ability to express negation. Negation modifies information which is present in the common ground of discourse. It is a general feature of language.


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