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A Discourse Analysis of Language Use in The Speeches of Selected Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs

Degboro O.D, Volume 1 Issue 1, July 2020 Pages 178-187, Published: 2020-07-30


Several women in Nigeria have contributed their quota to the national growth, socio-economic advancement and even global technological development. In Nigeria in particular, there exists a crop of distinguished women who have worked assiduously in rebranding and uplifting Nigeria. For the purpose of discourse analysis, this work critically examines language use in selected speeches of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria with a view to revealing how their use of language is connected to their achievements in promoting Nigeria’s development in the course of their services to the nation. The corpora comprise two selected speeches of Professor Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (a former Minister of Finance, and later, Foreign Affairs, in Nigeria), and Mrs. Folorunso Alakija (rated the richest African woman entrepreneur). The paper uses insights from M.A.K Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics to analyse the transcribed data at three linguistic levels – lexical, grammatical and discourse. The findings reveal that through the frequent and consistent use of the first person plural, e.g., “we”, “our”, “us”, the women collectivise actions and subscribe to the inclusion of everyone in working towards the new Nigerian agenda while the lexical items, “revamping”, “improved”, “environmental safeguard”, “youth empowerment”, “technology”, “innovations”, etc. ,show that they are interested in nation building for economic growth in Nigeria such that the younger generation of women can follow suit to birthing a better Nigeria. The study therefore concludes that women should rise up and take bold steps in educating and equiping themselves in the task ahead to move our nation to the next level in achieving set millennium goals.