A Speech Act Analysis of the Acceptance of Nomination Speeches of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief M.K.O. Abiola

Samuel Alaba Akinwotu


This study investigates the role of language in the communication and interpretation of intentions by examining selected political speeches as pieces of discourse with specific goals. It presents and documents some of the significant illocutionary acts that convey the intentions of speakers in the acceptance of nomination speeches of presidential candidates in Nigeria. The acceptance of nomination speeches of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief M.K.O. Abiola form the bulk of our data. The study is based on insight from J.L. Austin (1962) speech act theory. Five categories of speech acts identified by Searle’s (1969, 1976) are significant in the speeches. They include assertive acts (27.3%), expressive acts (22.70%), commissive acts (22.70%), directive acts (18.2%) and declarative acts which account for 9.1% of the total data. The study has revealed that the acceptance of nomination speeches are characterised by illocutionary acts that are used to achieve persuasion. Hence, the data are characterised by a preponderance of assertive, expressive and commissive acts that are mostly used as mobilization strategies, especially in political campaigns, where it is essential for candidates to persuade their listeners to win elections. The acts performed in the speeches examined are essentially similar; however, they were encoded more explicitly by Chief Abiola than Chief Awolowo.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v2n1p43


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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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