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Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Stylistic Analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Udom Emmanuel’s New Year Speech




The aim of this study is to make a A Stylistic Analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Udom Emmanuel’s New Year Speech using the analytic model developed by Leech and Short (1981) as the major approach. Most MA theses that have used stylistic analysis are based on certain poem or short stories and much work has not been done applying stylistic analysis to novels, according to the observation made. Thus, this paper tries to apply stylistic analysis on a speech and shows how one can better understand writer’s use of different linguistic elements and how meanings are constructed from a specific speeches . To give some of the major findings of this study, the writer uses more nouns as compared to other word classes, i.e. adjectives, verbs and adverbs. When we see major figures of speech used, the writer uses repetition and parallelism as the major grammatical and lexical schemes. With regard to the phonological schemes, alliteration is widely used creating a consonant sound effect. Alliterative proper nouns are also use to help the reader not to easily forget the names of the some characters. When we see the use of tropes, almost all of the rhetorical devices that are used are similes.


Stylistics, which has variously been regarded as an eclectic and relatively new concept, in fact, has its origin in traditional rhetoric. Scholars such as Richard Bradford and Graham Hough have linked the 20th Century stylistics with the art of rhetoric as obtained in ancient Greece. In those ancient times, the Greeks recognized the informative, cohesive and persuasive qualities of a good speech in public speaking. The skills of this ‘oral forensic craft of rhetoric’, with the discovery of writing in the 5th Century B.C., began to be taught and learnt as a practical discipline. The ancient forensic orators developed the techniques known as figures of speech, which included schemes and tropes. These were employed in the structuring and elaboration of an argument. They were also used to move the emotion. The Renaissance period in Europe (14th Century – 16th Century) when there was a great revival of learning in art and literature influenced by Greek and Latin, saw the study of these figures under the heading of Elocution. Elocution was technically one of the five divisions of rhetoric. What can be regarded as modern stylistics can be seen as a development from this main branch of rhetoric? Its interest lies in the relations between form and content, concentrating on the characteristic features of expression. One of the attempts to fuse modern linguistic insights with traditional rhetorical figures was by Geoffrey Leech (1969) in what he termed descriptive rhetoric.

 In the 19th Century, linguistics as a science invaded the field of style such that any discussion in the area of style was regarded as a discussion in linguistics. This is because any use of language in a literary work operates within the confines of the ‘scientific rules’ of the language. The credit for this development goes to Ferdinand de Saussure. At his demise, his student, Charles Bally – the expressive stylistic an – became the acclaimed father of modern stylistics. The concept of linguistic stylistics has to do with a stylistic study that relies heavily on the ‘scientific rules’ of language in its analysis. Such rules will embrace the lexical, grammatical, figures of speech, context and cohesion categories.


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