Lexicalization of Ideology in National Anthems of Selected African States

Ojo Akinleye Ayinuola PhD


National anthem is a nation’s song that shows ideologies, histories and worldview of an independent state. Previous studies have examined the discourse of national anthems from philosophical, sociolinguistic, historical, and stylistic points of view with insufficient attention paid to ideological inclinations in national anthems and lexical choices explicating them.  This study, therefore, examines how ideological inclinations are lexicalized in selected national anthems of African states with a view to unmasking prevalent ideologies inherent in the anthems. This study adopts Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics and Furlough’s Socio-Semiotic model of Critical Discourse Analysis as theoretical framework. Twenty ideology-laden national anthems, which formed the data for this study, were purposively selected from each of the five African sub-regions. The anthems from each region of African states include the following: Central (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea); East (Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda); North (Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia); Southern (Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe); and West (Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Gambia). Data were subjected to critical discourse analysis. The paper surmised that lexical choices are a conveyor of ideological inclinations in texts and talks.


National anthem, lexical choices, ideological inclination, Systemic Functiona Grammar and African States.

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