Discourse structures of hate discourses in Nigeria
Keywords:Semantics, Syntax, Hate discourses, Nigeria, Political discourse analysis
By adopting the semantic and syntactic-related structures of van Dijk’s (1997) political discourse analysis, this research paper examines twenty-one (21) hate discourses by selected political actors in Nigeria. The hate discourses were obtained from the Nigerian online newspapers as well as from the Twitter handle of political actors. The first set of analyses examines the semantic-related structures of hate discourses and discovers that they contain implicit and explicit structures where hate speakers make propositions with positive predicates about the hate speakers’ own group rather explicit than implicit. The finding also reveals that the selected hate discourses manifest the semantic structure of local discourse coherence where the negative actions of in-group members are treated as an exception whereas those of out-group are overgeneralised. The findings obtained from the syntactic-related structures of hate discourses reveal that hate speakers use pronouns to emphasise their bad deeds and emphasise our good deeds. The research also discovers that in hate discourses, stereotypical words are topicalised as a way of showing emphasis. These findings suggest that hate discourses in Nigeria conform to the syntactic and semantic aspects of discourse structures as enunciated in van Dijk’s (1997) political discourse analysis. The study also discovers that hate speech hinders Nigeria’s national development because of inter-ethnic tensions caused by doubt, lack of trust and suspicion. Together, these findings provide important insights in the way political actors use hateful tags on each other in order to secure political power.
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