A Pragmartics Analysis Of Negation In Selected U.S And Nigerian Presidental Speeches

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1.1             Background to the Study
Language  is a  unique attribute  of  humans,  which  is  used as a  chief  medium  of
communication, for building interpersonal relationships, exchange of ideas and passing of information. Martinet A. defines it as “a formidable instrument of communication… by which human experience is analysed…” (20). As a system of communication, it does not exist in a vacuum, but operates in a context of situation. It is these contexts which determine the variations in language that we call register. Language is very crucial for human survival and existence, because it is the most important, and effective tool for communication. It is the bond that holds societies and nations together. The primacy of language cuts across all facets of human life: government, education, health, religion, politics, and so on. Gideon S. Omachonu puts it as the “facilitator of human essence for all inventions and achievements ever recorded in human existence have their roots in language as a veritable instrument of thought and an indispensable channel of communication” (1).

Since this research work analyzes the pragmatics of selected political speeches of President Muhammadu Buhari, it is important for us to understand the relationship that exists between language and politics. In doing this therefore, we subscribe to the view made by Anthony Paul Chilton when he states that politics is “the art of governance and power” while language is “the universal capacity of humans in all societies to communicate” (20). Politics is a struggle for power in order to put certain political, economic and social ideas into practice (Faith Bayram 23). It is concerned with power to make decisions, control resources, and control other people’s behaviour and, at times to control their values. In this process, language plays a crucial role, for every political action is prepared, accompanied, influenced and played by language.

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