Rhetorical Diplomacy: A Study of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s Speech To the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly- September, 2015

Abstract

Diplomatic texts-oral or written-are usually deemed to be of a high significance. The significance of a diplomatic texts is based on the fact that it comes from the personality of a Head of State (or government or his representative) who is a mouth piece of a country by virtue of the office he holds and his utterances are channeled to influence the official relationship of states. This genre, surprisingly, has been given relatively very little attention by scholars and linguists. This study entitled: “Rhetorical Diplomacy: A study of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari‘s speech to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, is an analytical study of the pragmatic strategies of the President with the aim of determining their effectives in conveying the speakers intentions to his audience. The analysis, carried out in this study, was based on the theoretical backcloth of the Speech Act theory by Austin (1962) and Searle, (1969, 1999). Specifically, the study adopted Searle (1999)’s taxonomy of speech acts which gave primacy not to the types of speech acts, but to their illocutionary points /forces. As a result of this, the utterances were analysed as diplomatic actions taken by the President, in terms of their illocutionary points/ forces and the perlocutionary effects they have on his audience. Our basic findings show that the President made use of expressive, assertive, commissive, and directive speech acts to perform various direct and indirect interactive acts which were found to be diplomatically correct in foregrounding and communicating Nigeria’s challenges and polices to the global community. The data however, revealed no instance of the use of verdictive and declarative acts by the President. The paper concluded that the study of the deployment of speech acts as a strategy in political and diplomatic speeches, contributes to a better understanding of multilateral and bilateral communication and provides insights into presidential outputs in diplomatic meetings.

Keywords: Diplomacy, Speech Acts., rhetoric

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 38-52 (Download PDF)

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