PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF SELECTED POLITICAL SPEECHES OF NELSON MANDELA

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ABSTRACT



This study is a pragmatic analysis of selected political speeches of Nelson Mandela. Using the Speech Acts theory the researcher interprets Nelson Mandela’s utterances, and determines the perlocutionary acts of Mandela’s speeches in order to judge whether his speeches meet the felicity conditions as spelt out by J.L Austin (1962). The linguistic and non linguistic factors such as speech acts, socio-political context and deixis are considered as relevant situational factors that helped to provide an account of how the interpretation is achieved. The method of data analysis is qualitative analytical method. The speeches are presented and analyzed using Austin’s speech act theory with special reference to Searle’s taxonomy of illocutionary act. The findings of this study indicate that Nelson Mandela’s speeches are used to achieve persuasion and the utterances are either implicitly or explicitly stated. The implicit utterances are doubly pragmatic in that he did not state clearly what his intentions are but rather he uses such moods as: indicatives and imperatives which are all implicative. That is, they all have implied meanings. The implicit nature of Nelson Mandela’s speeches is intended to avoid being overly aggressive in achieving his intentions. Explicit utterances on the other hand, are clearly stated using perfomative verbs. Also, we observe that in the representative or assertive acts, Nelson Mandela was explaining, informing, asserting, proving and stating the facts of the situations at heart. The perlocutionary acts indicate that, Mandela enlightens, convinces, and persuades his audience to accept his opinion. Using the directive acts, the speaker makes his speech by ordering, admonishing, appealing, advising, and pleading for the change they so much desire. The perlocutionary acts in the directives are such that Mandela convinces, persuades and inspires his audience to bring about the positive change they so much desired. Finally, Nelson Mandela’s speeches met J. L. Austin’s (1962) felicity conditions and they are, therefore, felicitous. This study also reveals that in Mandela’s speeches, there is an evidence of the speaker’s cultural influence. Nelson Mandela unconsciously upholds his culture in terms of greeting, appreciating and thanking his audience and his language use in terms of his communicative competence was part of the key to South African’s freedom from the apartheid conflict and eventual emergence of democratic rule.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE:  INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background to the Study
1.1.1    Political Speeches and Political Language
1.1.2    Socio-Political Background of Nelson Mandela’s Speeches
1.1.3    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s Profile
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Significance of the Study
1.5       Scope of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Related Literature
2.2  Context and Deixis in Pragmatic Analysis
2.3       Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK       
3.1       Research Methodology
3.1.1    Sampling Technique
3.1.2    Method of Data Collection
3.1.3    Method of Data Analysis
3.2       Theoretical Framework

CHAPTER FOUR: THE SOCIO-POLITICAL CONTEXT OF THE SELECTED SPEECHES
4.1       Colonialism and African –European Relations
4.2       The Act of Westminster of 1910
4.3       Apartheid
4.4       African Nationalism and the Liberation Struggle
4.5       Negotiations and Democracy

CHAPTER FIVE: TEXTUAL ANALYSIS
5.1       Speech Acts Analysis of the selected Speeches
5.1.1    Representatives /Assertives
5.1.2    Directives
5.1.3    Commissives
5.1.4    Expressives
5.2       The Perlocutionary Acts of the Selected Speeches
5.3       Felicity Conditions of the Speeches

CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
6.1       Summary of findings
6.2       Conclusion
Works Cited
Appendices


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION


1.1        Background to the Study

Language has been defined over the years, in so many ways and by people with diverse interests. There are a number of definitions which are notable and which express different uses of language. Sapir (8) defines language as, “a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols”. Bloch and Trager (5) define language as, a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by which social group co-operates’’. Chomsky (4) in his Language and Mind states that, “knowing a language is knowing the grammar of that language” and the “grammar of a language purports to be a description of the ideal speaker-hearer’s intrinsic competence”. Bolinger (2) views language as, “a system of vocal-auditory communication using conventional signs, composed of arbitrary patterned sound units and assembled according to set when interacting with the experience of its users”.

From the above definitions, it is clear that human language is a system of symbols and signs that are primarily vocal and arbitrary and used for communication of ideas, thoughts, emotion, and information within a social group. The essence of language is communication and communication is from the Latin word, ‘communicare’, which means ‘sharing in common’. Communication can be defined as, “the process by which one person shares information with another person, so that both of them clearly understand each other’’ Ogunpitan, (01).

It is the total process by which one person relates to another person. Communication succeeds if the hearer identifies the speaker’s communicative intention in the way intended. In any interactional exchange, the intention of the individual is very important for the participants to engage in communication. At this point, it is important to explain an issue that arises from the definition above especially as it relates to this study. When Chomsky indicates that, ‘‘knowing a language is knowing the grammar of that language’’, the researcher needs to explain that, ‘‘knowing a language’’, in the context of this study is more than knowing the grammar of that language. It is important to know the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of a language but the knowledge of the demands of the communicative competence of the language is equally important for one to interact effectively in a conversational exchange. One must have the intuitive knowledge which comes from correct application of the formal grammatical rules of the language for it is only when the grammatical or linguistic competencies are matched with actual communicative competence based on the context that meaningful communication is achieved. This is in fact, the concern of this study, to analyze the speeches of Nelson Mandela based on the context of his political experiences. It is only in this way that the intentions of the speaker or writer can be effectively presented. To achieve the purpose, therefore, the speeches are analyzed based on conversational principles of pragmatics with great recourse to Austin (1962) Speech Act Theory. Further definitions of language need to be highlighted in order to see different nuances of meaning which different scholars attach to the concept of meaning. While these definitions are important, this study appreciates a definition that hinges more on situational imperatives of the user which we should understand in order to effectively understand the message and intentions of the speaker. It is really the message and intentions of the speaker that bring about the perlocutionary act of the language.
Language is therefore, used to communicate something meaningful, either through speech or writing, this being done through words organized into utterances or their written representation. Language provides humans with a standard means of communication.....


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