Experiential Meaning Construction in Political Discourse: A Transitivity Analysis of the Inaugural Address of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana (Published)
The exploration of the interface between language and politics is taking a heightened dimension across disciplines. The study examined how language has been used by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his inaugural address to the people of Ghana from a functional perspective. The study is premised on Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar and employs the qualitative research design in the analysis of the text. The main focus of the study was the analysis of transitivity in the address and the functions it plays in political discourse. The study applied the interpretative content analysis to investigate the communicative functions of the linguistic choices made in the address. The study used 284 clauses in the inaugural address for the analysis. It was discovered that material processes dominate the speech whereas the existential process types are used minimally. The dominant use of material processes implies that president Nana Addo and his government are going to be the main actors working on several concrete projects to create a sense of continuity in development and policy direction in a challenging administration he has inherited. The use of the material clauses, therefore, shows the enthusiasm with which the president intends to work in order to reform the challenging economy. The minimal use of the existential processes also implies that though there have been some attempts to solve Ghana’s socio-economic challenges, some problems persist in the country. The speech recorded no behavioural process type because the study did not analyse the paralinguistic elements of the text. The study concludes that the president made use of more primary process types in his inaugural address than the secondary process types.
Citation: Cynthia Logogye and Lawrence Ewusi-Mensah (2021) Experiential Meaning Construction in Political Discourse: A Transitivity Analysis of the Inaugural Address of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President Of The Republic Of Ghana, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.9, No.7, pp.24-33
This study uses Halliday’s transitivity theory to analyse the use of language in President J. A. Kufuor’s farewell address to Parliament. The study uses the content analysis design to analyse all the clauses in the address. The study reveals that among the six process types under the transitivity model, the material processes are used maximally in the speech whereas the existential processes are used minimally. There was, however, no behavioural process in the address. The dominant use of material clauses suggest that Kufuor interprets the world in terms of his past and present “goings-on” happenings by recounting some of the concrete achievements recorded under his eight-year stewardship and making useful suggestions to the incoming government in order to ensure continuity in projects his administration has initiated. His choice of actors suggests that Kufuor attributes the achievements to himself which may be perceived as a feature of undemocratic leadership style; however his determination to share his wealth of experience with the incoming government corrects the impression that he is undemocratic. He also uses a majority of relational identifications to point out to himself and his administration as the main development players. Verbal processes have been used as markers of transition and topic shift; still, he refers to himself as the main sayer. The study concludes and affirms that material, relational and mental processes are the three primary processes often used in language since the three add up to about 90% (Halliday&Matthiessen, 2004).