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Critical Discourse Analysis Of Imran Khan Speech In United Nation

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In Critical Analysis of candidates’ speech, we can suppose that one of the most crucial reason for political candidates to achieve favorable result in any election campaign is the use of versatile language and their ability to induce and make an impression on their audiences. Discourse is not just a mental and lingual issue, but it contains thoughts, emotions and excitements. The priority of a discourse is not necessarily rooted in reasoning power of that discourse, but the priority of a discourse is a variable of mental and rational factors on one part and emotional, inductive and persuasive factors on the other part. It is crucial to state that discourses are partial and positioned, and social difference is manifest in the diversity of discourses within cultural contexts. In this direction, the content of political propaganda is also very important in political election area. The more a political discourse is related to the general political culture of a society, the more the success percentage of that discourse will be. One important point in political-critical discourse analysis is that a successful political discourse is the one that moves toward the expected willingness and desires of a society. In Iran, for example, there are different cultural criteria that help a political discourse to be dominant in election campaigns, including: being management-oriented and program-oriented, having religious thoughts, fighting with immorality and corruption, bravery toward foreigners, willingness to stability and safeguarding the interests of the people, willingness to social and cultural freedoms, submitting effective strategies to have suitable interaction with others, simple-living and avoidance of luxury and so on.

Fairclough (1995) defines a discourse analysis as an analysis method which includes linguistic description of the language text, interpretation of the relationship between the (productive and interpretative) discursive processes and the text, and explanation of the relationship between the discursive processes and the social processes. In addition, McCarthy (2000) states that discourse analysis is concerned with the study of the relationship between language and the contexts in which it is used. In other words, the focus of discourse analysis is not only on the pattern of language, but it is also considering the context of text.

Shabanali Bahrampoor (2001) pointed out to the purposes of DA as follows:

  • To clarify the relationship between author, reader and text
  • To clarify deep structure of text production or discourse analysis process
  • To identify the effect of text (general linguistic system) and context (social, historical, political, cultural, …) on discourse
  • To identify special conditions of discourse producer
  • To show variability of meaning
  • To manifest the relationship between text and ideology
  • To create a new method and technique in studying text, media, politics and so on. There are some areas of DA such as speech act, pragmatics, conversation analysis, genre analysis, theories of politeness, indirectness, general discourse, discourse and cultures and critical discourse analysis. This study has used a critical discourse analysis in order to fulfill its purposes.

Mrs. Sh. – who is the editor-in-chief of a weekly publication (Farzan Dane Gil) – used media discourse as a part of her campaign propaganda in City Council Election time so the nature of power relation enacted in her discourse is not completely clear; in this respect, Mrs. Sh.’ discourse involves hidden relation of power as Fairclough called it ‘power behind discourse’. Media discourse is a kind of one-sidedness discourse in which candidate doesn’t know who is among the audiences and what they say is addressed to ideal subject. Different candidates have different kinds of strategies for problem solving. Through detailed describing of a long list of her plans and programs in her weekly publication, Mrs. Sh. tries to show how much problems exist in Rasht City and how she tries to resolve them; by this persuasive strategy, she stimulates the sense of hope in audience. In respect to the women’s role she emphasized on more active presence of women in city management in order to strengthen the position of women in their social and public life. By using of the words ’emphasize’ and ‘point out’ she shows a type of power in her statement. Another characteristic of Mrs. Sh.’ statements is that she used Van Leeuwen personification technique saying ‘media helped me…’ that is a compensatory tendency to give impression on teaching each of the people handled in mass as an individual. In her final statement, Mrs. Sh. used the phrase ‘Islamic Government’. Although she never speaks about her political tendency, this phrase is the nodal point of Principality party in our country; he persuasive technique because he uses emotive language to create a sense of consensus in audiences, and the other technique is using of relational value because of politeness in his language. Also, through describing his plans, he used persuasive strategy of problem resolution combining relational elements of conversational discourse. When he says, ‘all of us’, he expresses solidarity with relational elements of a more traditional political discourse type and when he uses of modal verb ‘should’ he shows authority in his speech, so we can also see a sign of power relation in this statement. Mr. A frequently used face-to-face discourse during his campaign propaganda in City Council Election and he declared that it was the most effective measure in his succession. In face-to-face discourse he designed his contributions for the particular people he was interacting with. He knew who his audiences were, so he tried to adapt the language he used and to decide to keep this adapting based on the feedback he got from his audiences. The most characteristic of face-to-face discourse is that the nature of power relation enacted in it is often clear. In his tracker, Mr. A named several responsibilities undertaken in several companies. Fairclough believes that statement of responsibilities is another sign of power relation in politicians’ discourse. He also requested people for helping him. In ‘Language and Power’, Fairclough believes that there is a close relationship also used the word ‘stress’ in this sentence that can be good indicators of ideologies underlying her speech. The subject position of Mrs. Sh. is a female, so she used of another strategy to claim solidarity with women and articulate their desire, hope and wills. She applied a relational value by using pronoun ‘we’. Cultural values were also influenced in her success. She received a lot of votes because of her justifiable appearance, firm character and religious thoughts indicating the social identity of the woman political candidate in Islamic country.

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At the beginning of his speech, Mr. A introduced himself as a servitor of people. By this technical register, he used two techniques simultaneously; one of them is between request and power. Concerning the women’s role, Mr. A. emphasized on his objection for any limitation of woman’ political and social activity. The strategy existed in this statement is using of disagreement. According to Fairclough, candidates use disagreement in their speech in order to exercise influence and power. Also, in the mentioned sentence, an experiential value is used because of being negative (I don’t agree with any limitation …). Negation is the basic way to distinguish what is not the case from what is the case. In final part of his speech, Mr. A. encouraged political candidates to have a moderate interaction with political parties and influenced individuals. Through analysis of this sentence, we can detect some ideological strategies. Although he never speaks about his political tendency, it seems that his thoughts are close to Reformist party because moderation and political interaction are from the moments of Reformists. Also, in his slogan he said, ‘we want young manager’. By this sentence he used another persuasive technique introducing himself as a capable manager to persuade the audiences.

Actors of the two sample speeches are I and we /Americans/each of us/all. Material process, as a process of doing, is a good choice in the address to demonstrate what the government has achieved, what they are doing and what they will do in different aspects of affairs, home or abroad. And it can also arouse the American people’s confidence toward the president and his government and to get their support in policies or measures in the following four years. For example, we (Actor) will begin to responsibly leave (Material Process) Iraq (Goal) to its people, and forge (Material Process) a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan (Goal). With old friends and former foes, we (Actor) will work tirelessly to lessen (Material Process) the nuclear threat (Goal) and roll back (Material Process) the specter of a warming planet (Goal). We (Actor) will not apologize (Material Process) for our way of life (Goal), nor will we (Actor) waver in its defense (Goal), and for those who (Actor) seek to advance (Material Process) their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents (Goal), we (Actor) say (Material Process) to you (Goal) now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken (Material Process); you (Actor) cannot outlast (Material Process) us, and we (Actor) will defeat (Material Process) you (Goal).

Relational process is a process of being. It can be divided into two modes: attributive relation and identifying relation. The first means what properties an object possesses or what category it can be put into. And the other means that an entity and another is uniform. It is used widely in describing people and objects. Attributive Identifying The dream of our founders is alive. America is a friend of each nation. A friend of each nation is America. Our challenges may be new. America is a place where all things are possible. A place where all things are possible is America. Relational process, as a process of being, is appropriate to explain the complex relationships between some abstract items because it sounds definite. As a result, the process accounts for a large proportion in these addresses to elaborate the relationship between traditional ideals and their beliefs. Such an elaboration can reach the President’s aim of making the reasoning naturally and unconsciously accepted and making the required sacrifice in the speech willingly taken by the audience. (Cheng Yumin, 2007)

Mental process is a process of feeling, thinking and seeing. Actor is not the real subject of doing, but the feeling. It represents inner experience, such as “perception”, “reaction” and “cognition”. We call the two participants are Senser and phenomenon. For example (1) In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we (Senser) understand (Mental Process) that greatness is never a given. (2) As we (Senser) consider (Mental Process) the road that unfolds before us, we (Senser) remember (Mental Process) with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. (3) And we (Senser) know (Mental Process) the government can’t solve every problem. From above examples, we can see that mental process, as a process of sensing, appeals to the audience’s inner heart to connect the political beliefs, ambitions with their expectation, hope in a clear and emphasized way. In this way, the audience’s emotion of promotion and willingness to devotion is aroused and strengthened. Halliday declared that material, relational and mental processes are three primary ones in language use since the three add up to about 90%. As an inaugural address for a newly elected American President, it must fulfill the traditionally and ritually required functions: to state facts of the domestic or worldwide situations or problems objectively and the relevant policies forcefully, to conduct reasoning related to the relationship between traditional beliefs such as freedom, democracy, justice, equality, principles, union, happiness and American dreams and citizens‟ participation, responsibilities, sacrifice and the needed reforms in economy, Medicare, or other fields.(Cheng Yumin, 2007).

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Critical Discourse Analysis Of Imran Khan Speech In United Nation. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
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