Pragmatics of the 31st March 2015 Telephone Conversation between Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari

Joel Olatunde Ayodabo


This survey study is a pragmatic analysis of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari’s 31st March 2015’s telephone conversation, while collation of the presidential election results was still on-going. The conversation was selected largely due to its linguistic textual quality, and perhaps the quality of attention that the presidential election generated. Data was obtained through transcription of the conversation as published by The Punch newspaper of Friday, April 3, 2015.Relevant literature in the field of pragmaticswas reviewed. Searle’s (1969) adapted in George Yule’s (1996)taxonomy of speech acts was considered useful for identification and classification of the utterances of the conversation into speech acts.Analysis has revealed that all the twenty-three (23) utterances of the conversation satisfied the maxims of Quantity, Quality, Relation and Manner on the strength of common ground which the speakers and we, the listeners/analysts, share. It is also obvious that Expressive, Declaration, Directive, Representative and Commissive acts characterized the telephone conversation.The conclusion is that manipulation of common ground serves both interactional efficacy and social affiliation, and the choices speakers make is a reflection of the level of intimacy and intensity of social relations among speaker, addressee, and referent. And the text of this telephone conversation has demonstrated that.

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