Pragma-semiotics, Hate speech, Presidential campaign, Nigeria election, Discourse analysis.

Lekan M Oduola PhD, Olajumoke E. Adeagbo


Hate speech, any form of utterance targeted at ridiculing and defaming others, has become a potent political weapon in the Nigerian polity. Previous studies on political discourse in Nigeria have focused on general stylistics, pragmatics and semiotic features but have not significantly explored the combination of semiotics and pragmatic acts types in meaning negotiation. This study, therefore, examines discursive image and pragmatic acts used in the hate speeches to establish their joint roles in the negotiation of meaning. The study adopted Jacob Mey's (2001) pragmatic acts theory and Gunter Kress and Theo van Leeuwen’s (2006) Discourse analysis approach. Five speeches were purposively extracted from The Punch and The Guardian Newspapers on 2015 and 2019 presidential campaign speeches due to their ornate multimodal resources to project sensitive political messages. The data were subjected to pragma-semiotic analysis. The speeches were characterised by different pragmatic acts such as condemning act, warning act, cautioning act, challenging act and accusing act which overlaps with the following contextual features: reference (REF), metaphor (MPH), share situational knowledge (SSK) and voice (VCE). The visual portrayal of hate speech foregrounds different semiotic resources such as contact, information value, salience and framing in constructing representational, interactive and compositional significance. Verbal and visual modes in the selected presidential campaign adverts indicate that dominant political parties in Nigeria employ derogatory expressions to boost their prestige while denigrating inferior parties.


Pragma-semiotics, Hate speech, Presidential campaign, Nigeria election, Discourse analysis.

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