A Pragmatic Study of Hedges in President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 Inaugural Address

A Pragmatic Study of Hedges in President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 Inaugural Address

Author by Prof. Olubunmi Idowu

Journal/Publisher: European Journal Of Scientific Research Issn 1450-216x / 1450-202x

Volume/Edition: 153

Language: English

Pages: 250 - 258


Political leaders are saddled with the responsibility of presenting full-strength, accurate and unadulterated information on national issues about the state of affairs of the country on national security, health care, economy and internal relations and one of the ways of transmitting this is through political speeches. However, studies have shown that hedges are used to avoid categorical commitment. This study, therefore, examined the pragmatic use of hedges and the contextual reasons for hedging in the inaugural address of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB). The study adopted the Salager-Meyer (2007) classification on hedges and excerpts were purposively extracted for in-depth and textual analysis. Findings revealed that the preponderant hedging device was modal auxiliary verbs: will, should, would, can, might and may. The hedging devices employed were 50% representing 10 has modal auxiliary verbs, 25% representing 5 has approximators, 10% are epistemic verbs, 5% are hypothetical construction and 10% are adverbials. The contextual reasons for hedging were to: express uncertainty and imprecision; mitigate direct criticism and provocation; save the public self-image of PMB. The study concluded that there is a significant relationship between hedging and modality. The study, recommends the use of hedges for positive self-imaging and national development.  

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