PROPAGANDA IN POLITICS: THE USE OF LANGUAGE FOR EFFECT IN ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGN

PROPAGANDA IN POLITICS:  THE USE OF LANGUAGE FOR EFFECT IN ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGN 

 CHAPTER ONE   

INTRODUCTION  

Propaganda is one unique device of politics. This is mostly observed in any electioneering campaign.  Longe and Ofuanu (1996:17) argue that propaganda is solely introduced to damage character. “Propaganda means information, doctrinesopinion etc that are often derogatory, as in political propaganda Films and plays.These are said to be derogatory because they tend to damage or take away credit from something or someone. The sole purpose of propaganda is to misinform and mislead and to consciously indoctrinate.“ The use of propaganda   many times, present the propagandist (that is the person speaking) as a saint and the person the propaganda is aimed at as the devil that is not fit to lead. The focus of this research however is to show how language plays a significant role in political propaganda as it relates to electioneering campaign. This work shall focus more on the 2007 general electioneering campaign in Nigeria. Linguistics device propagandist use to achieve their aim in the fare mentioned electioneering campaign shall be brought to the fore.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

It has been observed that previous researches addressed the role language plays in persuading and educating the electorate during electioneering campaign . This is also known as rhetorics. The researcher observed that much has not been done on the effects of language on the contestants and the electorate with regard to the campaign of calumny (propaganda) is yet to be fully studied, with this in mind, this study shall show that language has a great effect on both the electorate and contestants as observed during the last 2007 general election in Nigeria.

AIM OF THE STUDY

Where ever politics evolves, propaganda is a major tool in deciding the vote. Propaganda itself is not possible without language. This work is therefore aimed at showing through vivid analysis that propaganda in politics makes use of linguistics device in deciding where the podium of influence should swing towards. This work will also show the forms and features of propaganda as it relates to language use.

COLLECTION OF DATA

This work sourced data from both primary and secondary sources. Also, information relating to the topic under study was also sourced from the internet. As regards primary source, we got some texts on language and politics and we believe they shall be of great help in making this work a success. A secondary source involved information concerning political speeches of the 2007 general election in Nigeria.

SCOPE OF STUDY

This work will dwell in language use and speech act. The study will focus on the language use from the communication point of view and the effect it intend to have on the hearer, employing these features: word coinage, vagueness, repetition, abusive expression, attack on party name and slogan etc. being a persuasive styles adopted by the politicians in political campaign as available in data collected.1.5     LIMITATION OF STUDY The greatest limitation in this study is finance. Finance needed in carrying out standard research is not always easy for any student including the researcher. One actually need a lot of fund to source for credible information and data as regarding the use of propaganda. Time was also a big constrain as the researcher was made to work under a given period of time which also affected the work.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

The speech act theory introduced by British language philosopher known as J. L Austin (1962) provide the analytical frame work (i.e. theoretical) upon which the work is based. The theory analyses the role that utterance play in relation to the behaviour or attitude of the speaker and the hearer in interpersonal communication. It is communication ability defined with the respect to the intention of the speaker while talking and the effect of his speech on the listener. Every utterance has its own communicative purpose depending on the specific speech context. Language use, according to Traugott and Pratt (480:226) …is governed by a wide range of contextual factors, including social and physical circumstances, identities attitudes, abilities and beliefs of participants and relations holding between participants. Austin’s approach begins with an analysis of the different things people do with words through the ages, language philosophers have been impressed with language which has been used to represent how the world is, to say what is or is not the case the notion of truth has been central to the philosophy of language. He points out the many other things people do with words they do not just represent how things are; they ask questions, give commands, make suggestion give advice, tell jokes, make promises, even insult, persuade and intimidate.  This led Austin to draw a threefold distinct kind of speech act:

Locutionary Act – first, words have a distinct conventional meaning. The expression “The cat sat on the mat” refers to a cat, a mat and relation between them, one sitting upon the other. This ordinary sense of meaning constitutes the “what is said” of any particular speech act. Illocutionary Act.- Secondly has it that by saying certain words one actually commits an act.  For example, in saying “I do” at a wedding, one makes a promise in saying ‘will you?’ one asks a question and in saying “you will” one gives order. Perlocutionary Act. Finally, points out that by saying something, one performs an action by saying I do”.  One weds, by saying something like I will give you a better deal than the competitor”, may cause a buyer to be persuaded and so on.

Connecting the three speech – Act However, these different functions of words are not necessarily exclusive. Austin is aware that many utterances can involve all three kinds of acts. For instance, saying ‘it’s hot’ is an illocutionary act describing how one feels. It might also be taken in the context of a room with a close window as an illocutionary act – a request to open the window finally as the hearer responds by opening window, the single utterance has also perform a perlocutionary act. The essence of speech act theory is that utterances are acts in themselves capable of producing enormous and far-reaching result or consequences. Utterances can affect our whole lives, they can deny us to carry out an instruction, change an already existing state of affairs etc. The work propaganda in politics: the use of language for effect in electioneering campaign will be based on how language of calumny is used by politician to influence the state of the mind of the hearer and to tarnish the image of their opponent. This is achieved employing speeches in their campaigns; these campaign speeches will serve as the data for this work. This is the analytical framework upon which this work is built.

DEFINITION OF TERM

Since the work involves another discipline other than linguistics, terminologies that will be mentioned often in this work will be defined, such as:1.6.1  Language Language is any system structure of sign and meaning for the communication of experience MKC Uwajeh (2002)1.6.2  Politics Politics has no universal definition but has been defined by different scholars from their respective points of view. According to F.A.C Aramere (2003:3), “politics is the struggle for political power and the use of that power to the acquisition   of other values. Power is therefore the central focus of politics. 1.6.3  Election This is an act of choosing a representative or the holder of a particular office usually by ballot. Electorate refers to the whole body of persons, who have the right to vote in a country or area. Electioneering is the corresponding adjective of the noun election. It refers to the activities of making speeches and visiting people to try to persuade them to vote for a particular politician or a political party The People in a country or in a country or an area, who have the right to vote, 1.6.4  Propaganda According to Oyeneye (1997:41) professor Calvin Coolidge (1964) as saying that propaganda seeks to present part of the facts, to distort their relations, and to force conclusion which could not be drawn from a complete and candid survey of all the facts”

 

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