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Political Discourse Analysis Of Imran Kahn’s Victory Speech

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Language is the most primeval of persuasion devices. Through an indirect manipulation of language, proficient speakers have authentically been able to influence the perceptions, thoughts, purposes and agitation of the public, to the extent of causing people to accept false statements as true proclamations or even to support policies contradictory with their interests.

Leaders have to plan, organize, lead and control. Leadership is essentially a discourse practice with the power to mount issues and supervise elucidation in federation or government. Organizations have a collection of discourses- which include discourse of autonomy, entrepreneurial and evolutionary leadership.

It is important to study language as a tool used by politicians to influence and control public or their subordinates with their assertion of power. Language is ideological as politicians can use linguistic tactics and policies to authorized themselves while compelling their voters.. Leaders use linguistic tactics as an influential instrument to convince or persuade subordinates or voters to carry out specific actions.

Because of the enormous influence of the media nowadays, the crystal-clear interpretation of the mechanisms of “manipulation”, “exhortation”, and “persuasion” inherent in language or about language practices and tactics of discourse are of social applicability and of interest to all scholars of politics, to readers in all educational or political institutions, to analysts of political discourse, and to critical readers at large.

Linguistic manipulation can be considered also as an predominating instrument of political eloquence because political discourse is primarily focused on persuading people to take specified political actions or to make crucial and significant political decisions. Apparently,, the features of political discourse vary, as do its purposes. Providing politicians interact with society in general, their purposes may be:

  • to persuade voters to be a party loyal and to turn up to vote,
  • to dispose a floating voters’ party loyalty,
  • to make people adopt general political or social approach in order to attract support for a present policy.

Similarly, politicians may also use particular language (political language) forms when answering journalists’ questions. When politicians engage in language interactions with other politicians, their discourse differs to a great extent. Thus, it is undeniable that language plays mandatory part in politics because its main purpose is to delegate politicians to form structurally coherent social relationships in different political situations. This study aims at exploring the devices used by politicians to manipulate people’s ideologies and the truth to achieve political aims in different political discourse. First, it will shed light on the foundation on which this phenomenon is based. Then, it will analyse the linguistic devices used to create this manipulation of ideologies. The study will be limited to the lexical- semantic devices used in this political discourse. . Politicians often play with the public’s presuppositions and activate pertinent mental schemata by selecting certain lexical items or rhetoric tactics in order to increase the reliability of their pronouncement and to initiate and propagate a specific ideology. . This can be achieved through persuasive language tactics. This study is an endeavor to provide some background knowledge on the rhetorical devises used by leaders or politicians to convince and persuade their voters towards their political aims. I provide examples from leaders in a political setting in order to give a clear understanding of the use of rhetorical devices. Politicians actually use rhetorical devices and persuasive language to propagate their manipulating ideologies which they present before their voters. Persuasive language techniques, especially in speech, include presupposition, implicature, euphemism, rule of three, metaphor, parallelism and pronouns.


This is Imran Kahn’s victory speech, which he had delivered on 26 of July 2018, after his victory upon opponents to big parties. This text is taken from Aljazeera new. This speech was given coverage nationally and internationally. The time duration of the speech is one hour twenty three minutes and thirty one seconds. In the speech PM highlighted the objectives that this government have to achieve.

His speech generated positive response from all. He assured that as Prime Minister, he would strive to fulfill to the expectations built around him. His remarks about VIP culture and choosing a simple lifestyle have been welcomed. He also promised to spend an hour every week on broadcasts to answer questions raised by the public. Imran Khan had promised to start the accountability process from himself and his ministers. He had promised to take steps to cut down expenditures to save public money and to utilize it on public. He promised that he will fight against corruption, erase poverty, education for children and give jobs to people. He also said he wish that they should establish good terms with neighbors. Imran Khan, in his victory speech, has wisely offered transparent investigations into all the complaints regarding electoral irregularities.

Now the biggest challenge for Imran Khan is how to live up to the high expectations of his supporters who have voted him to power in the hope to see the emergence of a “Naya Pakistan” — a Pakistan free from corruption and injustice. Unlike previous leaders, Imran Khan will be appraised very minutely by his detractors and his each move will be scrutinized at micro level.


One of the goals of politicians must be to persuade their voters of the reliability and validity of their basic claims. This can be achieved in political discourse…presupposition.

In the branch of linguistics, a presupposition (or PSP) is an implicit assumption about the world or background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse. Examples of presuppositions include:

Jane no longer writes fiction.

Presupposition: Jane once wrote fiction.

Usage in the text:

When I came into politics, I wanted Pakistan to become the kind of country that our leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted.

Here is the presupposition used that Imran Khan wanted Pakistan a country which our great leader Jinnah wanted after making it a separate homeland. It’s a presupposition as it’s an assumption to make Pakistan the same country as Jinnah wanted but it’s unclear what the main picture of Jinnah’s Pakistan. It means that Pakistan was once a country which Jinnah wanted and made but it no longer remain the same so now Imran Khan wants the same country which Jinnah left for us. We need to make an atmosphere for doing business.

This is a presupposition as it makes a point towards the view that there were no atmosphere in the country to do business or there was an atmosphere to do business or it once exists but no longer exists so there is a need to make it in order to carry out the business deals effectively. It’s an assumption that either it existed and no longer remain same or it will never exist in the first place so there is a need to make a bussing atmosphere.

People don’t pay taxes, because they see how our ruling elite spends that money [on themselves].

It’s presupposition that people should pay taxes or people no longer pay taxes or people will pay taxes in the future. Another presupposition is that elite will no longer spend money on themselves as they have to pay taxes or they have to answer the government for their money .There will be a corruption-free Pakistan. The ruling classes have to give a fixed amount of tax to government. People have to pay taxes in order to see how government use that money for people’s welfare and use it in public services e.g. construction of hospitals and schools. Everyone will be equal in this regard.


A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature comes from the ‘All the world’s a stage’ monologue from As You Like It:

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances ..

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—William Shakespeare, As You Like It.

A very frequently appearing metaphor for the economy in the political discourse is economy as machine.

Usage in the text:

On India: I was saddened in the last few days, how the media in India portrayed me as a Bollywood film villain. It seemed like India feared everything bad would happen if Imran Khan came into power. I am the Pakistani who has the most familiarity with India, I have been all over that country.

In these lines there is metaphor as Imran Khan is portrayed as Bollywood film villain. In these lines Imran Khan is compared to a Bollywood film villain as he come into power, everything bad will happen. He is compared to a villain as villain do everything bad in movies , Imran Khan will make everything bad if he come into power In short he is a villain as Indian said.


Even the pronouns that political speakers use to refer to themselves or their voters can be a pronounced fragment of the speech.

In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun has been theorized to be a word that is used in place of a noun or noun phrase, e.g. I, we, you, they, him/her/his, us etc. Example of pronoun is:

Ali goes to school daily. He is a hard-working student.

Usage in the text:

We will not do any kind of political victimising. We will establish supremacy of the law … whoever violates the law, we will act against them.

We have to escape this economic crisis. No one is coming to save us.

We will strengthen the anti-corruption institutions … and hopefully, our farmers, the whole government will work to make sure the farmers make money somehow.

In these lines, pronoun we is used instead of I. Usually politician used we instead of I in their political speeches. It basically referred to themselves and their voter/audience too. It means that whatever they do will do with the help a d support of their voters. So everyone should support and encourage government in order to make country prosperous and developed. Inclusive “we” is used when the individual or group of individuals spoken to, are comprehended within the referential area of the pronoun. Exclusive “we”, however, excludes the individual or group of individuals spoken to from its intended referential scope.


Recanati, Francio in his book ‘Literal meaning’ he says that conversational implicatures are special type of pragmatic implication. Pragmatic implication are the implication of actions. Conversational implicatures are pragmatic implication of an act of speech. They fall under the schema: the speaker’s saying p implies q. Not all implications of an act of speech are implicatures. Arguably, a necessary condition for something to count as an implicature is that it be a part of what the speaker means by his utterance. For that condition to be satisfied, the speaker must overtly intend the hearer to recognize the pragmatic implication of his utterance, and to recognize it as intended to be recognized. Since what is conversationally implicated is implied by the speaker saying what he says, it immediately follows that conversational implication have a secondary character.

In the given text there are many cases were implications can be detected. PM says that he wanted to praise the people of Baluchistan who have suffered hard to come to polling station to use their right to vote. This he said specially because during the election campaign, there was many cases of terrorism and many people were killed in a blast. So to come in such condition was very difficult for people of Baluchistan. He also says that no country succeeds when there is sea of poor and island of rich. In this he is talking about politicians of Pakistan indirectly that the poor are in majority and cannot fulfil their basic needs and rich are in minority but they have everything and power too. So they have hold of whole society. In these lines he is specially taunting his opponents.


Fowler’s definition: “Euphemism means the use of a mild or vague or periphrastic expression as a subsitute for the blunt precision or disagreeable use.” (Modern English Usage, 1957).

The example of euphemism in the text: he says that he had seen the scenes the way elderly and disabled came out in the heat to vote. In the given lines elderly word is used which refers to old/ aged people. Positive connotation is attached to the word ‘elderly’. It seems more polite, well-mannered and civilized.

Rule of Three

According to Burns. Paul “It is frequently used in speeches. It maybe three questions, three rhetorical questions or three points etc. it is very good at emphasising on a part and is very effective when used. It is an efficient to stress on a particular point.” (2006)

In given text: the unfortunate truth is that Kashmir is a core issue, and condition of Kashmir, and what the people of Kashmir have suffered in last thirty years and they have seen a lot. In this example the repetition of word ‘and’ is three times while is talking about the same issue in these lines.


In his book Achieving A in Gcse Aqua English Specif, Burns. Paul writes, “Parallelism involves the repetition of sentences with similar use of vocabulary.” (2006)

For example in this text: I want to thank forces and people, I want to describe type of Pakistan I want to see, I want to make it clear that…etc.

Another example: We will not do any kind of political victimization, we will set example of how law is same for all, we will use educational institute, we will help small business, we will strengthen anti-corruption institute etc. Imran Khan is telling his goals that what he have to do. What he have to achieve. He is using parallelism to emphasis on his point of view. He is trying in such a sense that other should pay attention on it.


This analysis was an attempt to explore and elucidate the common rhetorical devices, which commission an orator and convince the listener. Listeners, despite their historical, cultural, ideological or geographical differences, can be persuaded, convinced or manipulated by their political leaders. Therefore, the Power of Language and discourse should be made more central to educational leadership. This analysis shows the exploration of different rhetorical devices through which a leader convinced his audiences for a better future. It shows that language can be persuasive by use of different devices used for manipulation. The analysis shows how language manipulate people’s ideologies towards a certain view. Politician use different figure of speeches to grab their audience attention. Persuading people to conduct a specific political action and to support a particular candidate or party is a significant part of any political campaign. Language is the most powerful tool to effectively implement others- the ultimate purpose of leadership. Though language we can persuade, inform, influence, gossip, hurt, deceive, comfort, manipulate, and negotiate with others. Yet for many people language is comprehension.


  1. Simon, Horst J.; Wiese, Heike (2002). Pronouns – Grammar and Representation. Linguistics Today. p. 190. ISBN 9789027227737.
  2. Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus.
  3. The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992) pp.653
  4. Kadmon, Nirit. Formal pragmatics: semantics, pragmatics, presupposition, and focus. Great Britain: Wiley-Blackwell, 2001, page 10.
  5. Levinson, Stephen C. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 181-184.
  7. Burns, Paul. 2006, p 39. AQA, GCSE English: aiming for A*.
  8. Holder, R.W’ (2008) Dictionary of Euphemisms.>books.
  9. Recanzati, Francois. p 70 Literal Meaning.

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