I Belong to Everybody yet to Nobody: Pragmatic Acts in President Muhammadu Buhari’s
An inaugural speech, which expresses the agenda of an elected candidate’s reaffirmation of the
electioneering campaign promises and the goals, is made on the occasion of official inauguration or swearing-in of the candidate. Speeches of presidents and heads of states have always been subjected to linguistic and non-linguistic analyses. However, President Muhammadu Buhari’s
Inaugural Speech has not enjoyed much documented analysis because it was recently delivered. This paper, therefore, investigates the use of words by the president from a pragmatic perspective in order to identify the pragmatic acts involved and the goals of the acts. Applying aspects of Jacob Mey’s (2001) pragmatic acts theory for descriptive analysis, and statistical details for quantitative analysis, nineteen practs were identified from the total of ninety-nine (overlapping) acts found in the speech, and were meant to achieve four goals. While proposing, promising, stating and assuring achieved the goal of revealing intention; acknowledging, thanking, remarking, saluting achieved the goal of admitting and appreciating; appealing, reminding, instructing/calling, advising, hoping, charging, informing, extending achieved the goal of direction/directives; and identifying, describing and defining achieved the goal of giving details on issues. In addition, the pragmatic acts were marked with some pragmatic tools, including shared situation knowledge, relevance, reference, inference. This paper adds to the understanding of rhetoric and the political agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Keywords: inaugural speech, language of politics, Muhammadu Buhari, pragmatic acts.
The Right Way to Read A Speech
Blue Stone Executive Communications (October 17, 2014)
We all know that when delivering a speech it’s always best to learn the material cold and deliver it from the heart. But let’s face it: For busy executives with frequent trips to the podium and little time to prepare, that’s not always an option.
So today I’m giving away the best tip I know for connecting with your audience while READING a speech. Ready? Here it is:
If you must read a speech, make it infinitely more impactful by looking up NOT in the middle of each sentence, but rather at the beginning and, more importantly, the end.
That’s it. Sounds simple enough, yet it’s actually counter-intuitive and requires practice to pull off. But for anyone who doesn’t have time to internalize a speech or simply can’t, mastering this technique for reading remarks is the next best thing.
In normal conversation, we typically stack the most important words at the ends of sentences and when we speak them, if it’s important, that’s when we’re sure to make eye contact. But somehow when we put ourselves behind a podium, that natural inclination gets flipped and our delivery comes out exactly opposite, depleting our words of impact and making us appear disconnected or insincere. Maybe worse, if we read the way most people are inclined, no matter how great our speechwriter is, we’ll squander every good line by breaking eye contact at exactly the wrong time.
Not convinced this subtle difference matters? Compare the two approaches reading one of the best speech lines ever, borrowed from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s. “I Have a Dream.”
First, the wrong way:
(Eyes down) I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation
(Lift eyes) where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
(Eyes back down) but by the content of their character.
The impact of the sentence is almost completely lost when we drop our eyes while delivering those critical last few words.
Now try reading for impact:
(Eyes up) I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation
(Eyes down) where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
(Eyes back up) but by the content of their character.
What a difference! We’ve made a connection at both the start of the thought and at its inspirational end. It’s as if that sentence takes on all new meaning!
And we can pull this off without memorizing the speech. We simply use the least important part of the sentence—the middle—as an opportunity to glance down, catch our place and gather up the words that will drive our point home.
Though making this adjustment requires practice, the effort is worthwhile. After all, connect with the audience and we’ll win their hearts, we’ll spread our message and who knows? We may even change the world.
Give it a try and let us know how it works or what else might work better. For more great ideas and tips for rock solid communication, check out our blog “Let’s Be Clear,” visit bluestoneexec.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @bluestoneexec.
Contextual and syllabic effects in heterosyllabic consonant sequences. An ultrasound study
The present ultrasound study investigates lingual coarticulatory resistance for consonants in Catalan C#C se-quences. In agreement with the initial expectations, the labial /p/, the dentoalveolars /t, n, l/ and the velar /k/turned out to be more variable than /s/, the alveolar trill /r/ and the alveolopalatal /ɲ/. Moreover, in com-parison to ultrasound data for VCV sequences reported in an earlier study, consonants were less contextually variable as a general rule and this difference was most apparent at the back of the vocal tract in particular for /s/and /r/. While consonants were generally longer syllable initially than syllable finally, differences in tongue position and contextual variability between the two syllable positions were determined by the place and manner of articulation characteristics of the target and contextual consonants rather than by a trend for consonants to exhibit a higher/more anterior and less variable tongue position when occurring in syllable onset than in syllable coda. Regarding contextual variability, /t, n, l/ showed no clearcut differences as a function of syllable position, and /s, r/ and to a large extent /p/ were more variable syllable initially and /k/ syllable finally. On the other hand, differences in tongue configuration between the two syllable sites were associated mainly with carryover tongue raising/fronting effects exerted by contextual dorsal consonants and with anticipatory tongue lowering/backing effects from the low vowel /a/ following the cluster. The dorsovelar consonant /k/ was found to blend before / ɲ/ in the sequence /kɲ/ but not in the reverse cluster /ɲ k/. The implications of the present data for phonology and sound change are discussed.