A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF SPEECHES BY OBY EZEKWESILI AND ABIKE DABIRI

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A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF SPEECHES BY OBY EZEKWESILI AND ABIKE DABIRI (ENGLISH AND LINGUISTIC PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)

ABSTRACT

This study is a critical discourse analysis of Oby Ezekwesili and Abike Dabiri speeches. It adopts some conceptual framework such as identity and role, ideology, power and institution, discourse of prejudice, language use etcetera; while socio-cognitive and discourse–historical approaches are adopted as theoretical frameworks. The data used are randomly selected speeches by the two prominent Nigerian women. Findings reveal among other things that: the two Nigerian women leaders studied have feminist tendencies as demonstrated in their various speeches; the sociopolitical statuses of the two women, at every point in time, determine their use of language; their speeches are also conditioned by the institutions they represent at every point in time; apart from their feminist ideologies, they also demonstrated concerns at various levels for the welfare of the country in their speeches such as advocacy for a dignified Nigeria; and the idea of naturalization can be deduced from their speeches as they try to identify with the suffering masses. The study’s contribution to knowledge is simply a marriage of CDA as a linguistic field with feminism. Although, this study is not the first of its kind, as far as this researcher’s knowledge is concerned, it may be the first to consider the data used (that is Oby Ezekwesili and Abike Dabiri speeches).

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The major thrust of this dissertation is to analyze the speeches of two of Nigeria’s frontline women, Oby Ezekwesili and Abike Dabiri from the Critical Discourse Analysis perspective. The study is motivated by the fact that ‘language as simple as the term seems is not only a means of describing reality but plays significant roles in determining and shaping reality and the world around us’ (Reponen 4). This reality has been observed in the speeches of these women through their language use; hence, there is need to study them. And, the best linguistic tool that suits such a study, in this researcher’s own opinion, is critical discourse analysis because of the relationship between language and discourse. Fairclough (18-19) defines ‘language use’ as “socially determined”, and ‘Discourse’ as “language as a form of social practice”. According to him, language does not exist outside of society but is a part of it. When people use language, they follow certain norms and rules that have been socially determined, and language use effects, for example, people’s worldviews and reality (Fairclough 19). He adds that ‘language’ is a social process, in which both the production and interpretation are included. He continues in explaining that language is a social practice that is conditioned by the context, which includes not only the immediate situation of language use but also society. (19-20)

Fairclough (21) further explains that discourse can then be seen to consist of three dimensions: the text itself (written or spoken), the processes of its production and interpretation and the social conditions relating to its production and interpretations. He also says that when we produce and interpret language, we draw upon the knowledge which is already in our heads, for example, about language, values and beliefs. According to him, this knowledge is socially constructed, dependent on our social relations and it is socially transmitted. Because of this social nature, language is closely related to power and ideologies, making it possible to dominate other people and shape societies (Fairclough in Reponen 5). In line with the above assertion by Fairclough, Oby Ezekwesili and Abike Dabiri, as a result of their statuses have voiced their knowledge and opinion of the Nigerian society in many issues especially as they affect the women and children.

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A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF SPEECHES BY OBY EZEKWESILI AND ABIKE DABIRI (ENGLISH AND LINGUISTIC PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)

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