The Basic Narrative of National Unity and Peace in Cameroonian Political Speeches: A Discourse Analytical Perspective


Hector Fonkoua Kamdem

Research Area:


This study analyses the patterns of language use in the speeches of three Cameroonian politicians with the aim of determining what discourse strategies they use in times of socio-political and economic crises to impose their worldviews or specific readings of a given situation. The analysis follows two main paths viz. representation and argumentation. With regard to (political) representation, I am interested in pronouns, metaphors, agency and nominalisation as indexical elements. The research focuses on topoi or argumentative schemes, with a view to understanding the ideologies expressed by the different political actors. The recurrence of linguistic patterns at different times of Cameroon’s history, as well as in similar contexts, is considered here as evidence to the presence of a Basis Erzählung (basic narrative) set into motion in times of social unrest. Ultimately, the work will contribute to a description of discourse as an “instrument and effect of power” at the highest stratum of the Cameroonian political sphere. The discourses analysed include both written texts and audio-visual material of the above-mentioned political actors in specified moments of crisis. This work espouses a postcolonial comparative perspective and examines a variety of influences on political communication in Cameroon, ranging from local culture(s) to foreign western culture(s) and traditions.