The Stylistic Analysis of Buhari’s Speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day
The concept of Style does not exist in a vacuum; it has meaning when language is used to communicate the message. The central question in stylistics is how a text means, and language, undoubtedly, remains the central medium through which a writer’s style is revealed. By definition, stylistics is the ‘science’ of style; its aim being to reveal or define a writer’s style or peculiarities in language use.
This research work is an investigation into the stylistic features of the speech of President Buhari on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day. As a matter of fact, scholars of stylistics have scarcely given the speeches of this Nigerian president a deserving attention. This is evident by the insufficient literature in this area. More remarkably, none of these collections has been studied stylistically.
Again, students whose interests are narrowed into the field of linguistic stylistics need an articulated and current work in the field to update their knowledge. The identified problems put together, informed the desire for this research. There are different linguistic levels of analyzing a literary or non-literary text.
These levels include: syntax, semantics, lexis, phonology, graphology and others; in order to achieve the objectives of this study, this essay investigated the deployment of syntax, semantics and graphology as devices of meaning and aesthetics. Syntax is the study of how words are put together to form meaningful sentences; semantics is the study of different shades of meanings in speech, and graphology is the study of language in print.
The study adopted Halliday’s systemic model for the analysis of the data under study. This research will improve the teaching and learning of syntax, semantics, and graphology, as well as, assist learners to develop linguistic abilities necessary for them to read, understand and respond to linguistic works sensitively.
Keywords: Language, Style, Stylistics, Syntax, Semantics, Graphology, and Politics.
The Stylistic Analysis of Buhari’s Speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day
- Background to the Study
Language is an indispensable feature of man as a member of society. It is a means through which he communicates thoughts, views, ideas, wishes and emotions with other members of the society, either through speaking or writing. It consists of the use of words in a meaningful and agreed order, hence, it is a rule-governed and conventional activity.
Language, used in such a way that it communicates specific ideas or thoughts, in consonance with a formal situation, is called speech. A speech can also be referred to as a connected discourse. It is a faculty of expressing thoughts, feelings & perceptions by articulation of word. It is spoken formally to an audience and the content is usually determined by the personality of the speaker, the purpose of the speech and the situation at which the speech is to be presented.
Although language is an indispensable feature of man as a member of society, it is not used in the same way by all members of the society. There are variations in language use. These variations may be caused by one’s geographical location, field of specialisation, social class, etcetera. These variations constitute what is referred to as style. The study of style is called stylistics. Stylistics in the broader sense is the study of style of language usage in different contexts; this context can be linguistic or situation. Style may be personal or individual in nature. It is based upon the fact that every phenomenon has many possible alternatives (Kamil, 2007).
A language user, depending on his field of specialisation, his speech community and his speech environment adopts a style that is suitable for the type of speech to be delivered. In a gathering of lawyers, for instance, the terms that would be prevalent in their conversation would be those in the register of law. It would also be evident that their expressions are highly frozen, lengthy and convoluted; the reason they identify themselves as “the learned”. The same is applicable to medical doctors, teachers, bankers, artists, politicians, and so on.
Speeches are of many types out of which is the presidential speech. A presidential speech is a speech that is delivered by a President to members of his cabinet or citizens of the country. The presidential speech can be a campaign speech, an acceptance speech, an opening speech, a presentation speech, among others. The type of speech to be delivered by a President is based on the occasion at which it is to be delivered.
The speech in view in this research is a speech presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at the occasion of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day Celebration. President Muhammadu Buhari is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who hitherto the delivery of the speech in view, had served Nigeria for six years as a civilian president. As a language user, who presides over a country, it is deduced that he is a politician, and his speech should reflect the features of the field of politics; some of which are achievements, promises, appeals, etcetera.
On the same occasion of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day, other speeches might have been delivered at the state and local government area levels by governors and chairmen respectively, but that of Muhammadu Buhari, the president of the country, must be outstandingly different. It is on this note that this researcher seeks to stylistically analyse Buhari’s speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day.
- Statement of the Problem
Existing studies abound on stylistic analysis of political speeches, but to the best of my knowledge, none of such was focused on the stylistic analysis of Buhari’s speech delivered on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day Celebration. It is in the light of this that this researcher seeks to stylistically analyse the selected speech, in order to bridge the knowledge gap.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this research is to stylistically analyse the speech of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day.
Specifically, this research aims at analysing the peculiarities in the use of language in Buhari’s speech on 61st Independence Day, thereby examining the linguistic devices as used in the speech and their contributions to the aesthetics of the language use in the speech.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This research is a breakdown of Buhari’s speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day. Its aim, like any other research work, is to contribute to the wealth of existing knowledge in the field of Stylistics. Hence, it is beneficial to linguists and stylisticians, in Nigeria and beyond.
- Research Questions
This research answers the following questions:
- What are the syntactic features found in Buhari’s speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day Celebration?
- What are the semantic features found in Buhari’s speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day Celebration?
- What are the graphological features found in Buhari’s speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day Celebration?
- Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is to stylistically analyse the linguistic features of Buhari’s speech on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day. The levels of stylistics that this work covers are graphology, syntax and semantics.
- Theoretical Framework
This research is centred on language use based on context and situation. Therefore, it shall use the systemic grammar model for the analysis as propounded by Michael A. K. Halliday.
- Methods of Data Collection
The data used for this analysis was a copy of the speech of President Buhari delivered on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day, retrieved from the Federal Ministry of Information, Federal Secretariat, Uyo. Other required information was sorted for in the library and the internet.
- Methods of Data Analysis
The speech of Buhari on Nigeria’s Independence Day was stylistically analysed through a systematic evaluation of its features. The analysis concentrated on graphology, syntax and semantics.