An Analysis of Inaugural Address of President Rodrigo Duterte’ Speech Act

Abstract

Language is an important tool for the politicians to express their ideas and exert influence on the people. Politicians can fulfil many goals through the language, which includes the important speech events in campaign, election, inauguration etc. Political speech can reveal certain ideology of the speaker. Nowadays, linguistic researchers are becoming interested in this topic. While most of studies only focus on the linguistic features of the language, they do not integrate the speaker’s role in it. The present research investigates the functions of the language used by the politicians during the speech. It aims to identify and analyseze what kind of illocutionary acts mainly manifested in Rodrigo Duterte’s Inaugural Speech. Descriptive qualitative method will be adopted in this research, which is based on the Speech Act Theory. Totally, there are 75 sentences. Among which, rrepresentative utterances takes up 50.67%, Directive holds 16%, Expressive shares 13.33%, Commissive holds 13.33%, and Declarative takes up 6.67%. The result indicates Rodrigo Duterte uses more indirect speech acts than the direct one’s, which reflects his commitment to the citizen about the future of the nation. The research figures out that most utterances of Rodrigo Duterte’s speech acts are regarded as statement of fact and assertion. These speech act implies his hopes to the country’s future. It can be concluded that Rodrigo Duterte hopes that he can persuade the citizens to accept him as the president.

Keywords: Speech actpolitical speechillocutionary act

Introduction

Language can be divided into spoken language and written language. The written language is the representation of a writing system; While the meaning of the spoken language is influenced by the context. An important function of language is communication. Language is an important tool for the politicians to express their ideas and exert influence on the people. Politicians can fulfil many goals through the language, which includes the important public speech events in campaign or election, etc. Political speech is a welcoming area touched by the linguists. It is said that the origin of political speech could trace back to the Greek philosophers. Agbogun ( 2011) holds that Aristotle describes political speech as an available means of persuading the audiences with respect to the subject they are talking about. Levinson et al. ( 2000) contends that pragmatics can be regarded as a discipline, which focus on the systematic study of meaning of language in use. Implicature, presupposition, speech acts, and deixis are the four main topics covered by the pragmatics. Yule ( 1996) states that pragmatics concerns about the speaker meaning, which explores what’s the role of a certain context played in the speech event. In other words, pragmatics is the study of language use in specific communicative contexts, which involves content being communicated and the participants. Opeibi ( 2009) demonstrates that the relationship between language and politics is co-existed. He explains that language is an important medium for the candidates to set up their personality to the public, aiming of gaining the audiences’ support and call upon them to participate in the process of securing and controlling power. Van Dijk ( 1997) holds that Critical Discourse Analysis is a political approach to political discourse.

Speech Act is a pragmatic concept, which explains how language functions in the context of users and situations. The basic tenets of speech acts are: language is performative; saying is doing; utterance is a part of an action within the framework of social institutions and conventions. That is to say, when the speaker says something he intends to use the words to do something. According to Austin ( 1962) and Searle & Searle ( 1969), both oral text and written text can be regarded as performing some action either as stating or denying a fact, confirming or predicting something, warning, denouncing, christening, expressing a promise, showing thanks or consolation. Austin ( 1962) holds that there are three facets in a speech act. One is the Locutionary act, which is composed of physical act of producing an utterance, act of organizing a particular linguistic expression and act of embedding the utterance in a certain context. Illocutionary acts refer to the type of action that the speaker aims to accomplish in the process of uttering, or a linguistic expression that performed by the speaker through the conventional force associated with it either explicitly or implicitly. The act of promising, commanding, criticizing, greeting, blaming, thanking, and swearing can be the examples of illocutionary acts; Perlocutionary act is the effect or response of the utterance, such as embarrassment, fear, confusion, enjoyment, or amusement, etc. The illocutionary act is the most interesting part of the three, which means using words to fulfil certain task. When statements are used to perform actions, they are performative utterances. When utterances are made to report or describe the state of affairs, they are constative utterances. Performative verbs (promise, ask, christen, affirm, authorize, etc.) can be adopted to fulfill performative utterances, which are either explicit (I announce Mary and Jason husband and wife.) or implicit (husband and wife). Conversational force or illocutionary force can be carried out in a performative sentence through its structure. For example, the priest announces a man and a woman husband and wife. Therefore, these kinds of utterances not only provide information. The corresponding action may be carried out through their saying. Austin ( 1962) further demonstrates that performatives must meet textual and contextual conditions. Firstly, there must be a conventional procedure carried with a conventional effect, which means specific circumstances and persons involved in the procedure must be appropriate. Secondly, the correct and complete procedure must be carried out. Thirdly, people who involved in the specific procedure, must have the prerequisite thoughts, feelings and intentions. And the relevant parties must do so if the consequent conduct is specified. Satisfied or unsatisfied effect can be caused by illocutionary force of the utterance.

Searle & Searle ( 1969) claims that five kinds of speech acts can be performed by speakers or writers in actual utterances. They are: (i) Representatives or assertives are the speech acts carrying a truth value, which make the speaker commit to the truth of the expressed proposition. (ii) Directives refers to the speech act which represents efforts by the speaker to make the listener to do something. (iii) Commissives are those speech acts that the speaker promises to do something in the future. (iv) Expressives refers to the speech act that the speaker shows his or her attitude or feelings about something. (v) Declaratives are the speech act that the speaker uses to bring some changes to the current situation.

Problem Statement

Language is an important tool for the politicians to express their ideas and exert influence on the people. Politicians can fulfil many goals through the language, which includes the important speech events in campaign, election, inauguration etc. Political speech can reveal certain ideology of the speaker. The Inaugural speech of the president, as the most important public speech for a country, which attracts not only the politicians’ attention but also the linguists’. The speaker’s voice not only stand for himself / herself, but also reflect this country’s image to the world. That’s why researchers pay attention to the political speech. However, the previous studies have focused on the themes of political rhetoric and stylistics, which pay more attention to the written texts and fail to integrate the speaker’s role in it. Bird ( 2011) investigates the rhetorical style in the speech delivered by President Clinton during harsh moments of domestic tragedy. Based on Bird’s analysis, Clinton is making good use of the function of rhetoric to define and construct reality. With the primary purpose of understanding certain speech, we can carry out the analysis of the speech from the pragmatic discourse perspective. For example, we can explore the reason why the speaker chooses to perform a particular speech act in a particular way, such as the reason of politeness.

Research Questions

Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What types of speech acts do the President Rodrigo Duterte’s inaugural speech involve?

  • What do the speech acts in President Rodrigo Duterte’s inaugural speech reflect?

  • How does the speaker negotiate his identity as a member of the community and as a member of the leader?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify and analyse the types of speech acts performed by President Rodrigo Duterte and explore the ideology concealed in this political speech. It also aims to find out how the speaker negotiates his identity in the speech.

Research Methods

This research combines qualitative research with content analysis. The Inaugural speech of the president Rodrigo Duterte was chosen as the data of this paper, which is available on the Internet. Speech Acts theory of Austin ( 1962) and Searle and Searle ( 1969) was chosen as the the linguistic approach of this study. Because of limited number of the speeches, all the utterances of the speech are selected and numbered during the analytic process. The percentages of different kinds of speech acts are calculated and presented in the form of the table, which make the interpretation of the data clear and empirical. It is well known that qualitative research design tends to study the small samples chosen on purpose and the contextual factors are not involved. Different types of illocutionary speech acts are presented in the following lists:

List (1) Illocutionary of Representatives

  • (1) No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve 2 . (statement of fact)

  • (2) For I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society 7 ; (assertion)

  • (3) It is the people from whom democratic governments draw strength and this administration is no exception 3 . (description)

  • (4) But all is not lost 14 . (conclusion)

  • (5) There are many amongst us who advance the assessment that the problems that bedevil our country today which need to be addressed with urgency, are corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality in the streets, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society and the breakdown of law and order 5 . (description)

  • (6) I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together 8 . (assertion)

  • (7) But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them because they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows 9 . (assertion)

  • (8) Erosion of faith and trust in government – that is the real problem that confronts us 11 . (statement of fact)

  • (9) I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs and corruption 15 . (statement of fact)

  • (10) No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve 10 . (statement of fact)

  • (11) In response let me say this: I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in 17 . (assertion)

  • (12) I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships 18 . (statement of fact)

  • (13) I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings 19 . (statement of fact)

  • (14) Years of toil and then, suddenly, they are back to where they started 20 . (statement of fact)

  • (15) In this fight, I ask Congress and the Commission on Human Rights and all others who are similarly situated to allow us a level of governance that is consistent to our mandate 22 . (assertion)

  • (16) As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president 24 . (assertion)

  • (17) I know what is legal and what is not 25 . (assertion)

  • (18) I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality 26 . (assertion)

  • (19) They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal 27 . (statement of fact)

  • (20) The fight will be relentless and it will be sustained 23 . (statement of fact)

  • (21) They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal 16 . (statement of fact)

  • (22) My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising 28 . (assertion)

  • (23) You mind your work and I will mind mine 29 . (assertion)

  • (24) These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate 31 . (assertion)

  • (25) Far from that 33 . (conclusion)

  • (26) As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president 38 . (conclusion)

  • (27) I know what is legal and what is not 39 . (assertion)

  • (28) The ride will be rough 41 . (conclusion)

  • (29) “The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 45 . (statement of fact)

  • (30) And from (Abraham) Lincoln I draw this expression: “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; You cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.” 46 (statement of fact)

  • (31) I need not go into specifics now 49 . (assertion)

  • (32) However, there are certain policies and specifics of which cannot wait for tomorrow to be announced 51 . (statement of fact)

  • (33) I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection and finally, to consummation 56 . (assertion)

  • (34) That is why I have adapted as an article of faith, the following lines written by someone whose name I could no longer recall 66 . (conclusion)

  • (35) He said: “I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm 67 .” (statement of fact)

  • (36) We offer our deepest condolences 72 . (description)

  • (37) Why am I here? Hindi kasali ito diyan (This is not part of my speech) 73 . (conclusion)

  • (38) I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation 75 . (conclusion)

List (2) Illocutionary of Expressives

  • (1) President Fidel Ramos, sir, salamat po sa tulong mo (thank you for your help) making me President; President Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Senate President Franklin Drilon and the members of the Senate; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the members of the House of Representatives; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Guiseppe Pinto and the members of the Diplomatic Corps; incoming members of the Cabinet; fellow workers in government; my fellow countrymen 1 . (thank)

  • (2) Indeed, ours is a problem that dampens the human spirit 13 . (sorrow)

  • (3) Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders; the erosion of faith in our judicial system; the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier 12 . (sorrow)

  • (4) I am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace 61 . (joy)

  • (5) To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose, we have become our own worst enemies 36 . (sorrow)

  • (6) “Malasakit. Tunay na Pagbabago. Tinud-anay nga Kausaban (Compassion. Real change.)” – these are words which catapulted me to the presidency 30 . (joy)

  • (7) These were battle cries articulated by me in behalf of the people hungry for genuine and meaningful change 34 . (sorrow)

  • (8) I look forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process 62 . (like)

  • (9) But before I end, let me express the nations, on behalf of the people, our condolences to the Republic of Turkey of what has happened in the place 71 . (pain)

  • (10) The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines 74 . (joy)

List of Illocutionary of Directives

  • (1) Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines 40 . (orders)

  • (2) Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong 21 . (suggestion)

  • (3) “Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno (Real change. This is the direction of our government) 32 .” (command)

  • (4) But the change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us 35 . (suggestion)

  • (5) And we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves 37 . (suggestion)

  • (6) But come and join me just the same 42 . (suggestion)

  • (7) Read between the lines 48 . (orders)

  • (8) Therefore, I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, from the submission to the release 52 ; (orders)

  • (9) I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all 53 . (command)

  • (10) I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation 54 . (command)

  • (11) Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong 55 . (suggestion)

  • (12) Prescinding there from, I now ask everyone, and I mean everyone, to join me as we embark on this crusade for a better and brighter tomorrow 70 ; (command)

List of Illocutionary of Commissives

  • (1) There are two quotations from revered figures that shall serve as the foundation upon which this administration shall be built 44 ; (pledge)

  • (2) My economic and financial, political policies are contained in those quotations, though couched in general terms 47 ; (promise)

  • (3) They shall be supplied to you in due time 50 ; (pledge)

  • (4) Do them and we will work together 57 ; (pledge)

  • (5) Do not do them, we will part sooner than later 58 ; (pledge)

  • (6) On the international front and community of nations, let me reiterate that the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations 59 ; (pledge)

  • (7) On the domestic front, my administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms 60 ; (promise)

  • (8) I serve every one and not only one 65 ; (promise)

  • (9) On the international front and community of nations, let me reiterate that the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations 68 ; (pledge)

  • (10) On the domestic front, my administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms 69 ; (promise)

List of Illocutionary of Declaratives

  • (1) That is why we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office 4 . (declarative)

  • (2) True, but not absolutely so 6 . (declarative)

  • (3) Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest 43 . (declarative)

  • (4) Let me remind in the end of this talk, that I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country 63 (declarative)

  • (5) I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class 64 . (declarative)

Findings

From the above statistics, we can conclude the answers to the research questions proposed in this research. As for the question one, it was discovered that there are five types of speech act in Rodrigo Duterte’s inaugural speech, which takes different proportion. They are representatives, expressives, directives, commissives and declaratives. Table 1 was drawn to show the summary of the percentage of each illocutionary speech acts:

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

There are totally 75 sentences appeared in this speech. Based on the statistics of Table 1 , we can calculate the ratio of the different illocutionary speech acts. The percentage of different illocutionary act are: Representatives 50.67%, Expressives 13.33%, Directives 16%, Commissives 13,33%, and Declaratives 6.67%. The President Duterte had used mainly representatives, directives and expressives. It is obvious that the representative speech act accounts for more than a half of the total speech act, which is frequently used in the whole text. The representatives take up 50.67%, which indicates that Rodrigo Duterte has a strong belief to make his utterance fits his belief. By performing this type of speech act, President Duterte makes his words fit the public’s belief. The illocutionary acts of expressives and commissives take the same proportion of the whole speech, which indicates that the speaker promise something or pledge something to the audiences with his strong emotions accompanied.

From the above lists, we realize that all the utterances perform both direct speech acts and indirect acts. This shows that the President emphasize adopting some practical actions other than making statements. With regard to the whole speech, Duterte try to negotiate his identity as a member of the Philippine community by using the illocutionary acts of representatives. While he tends to use the illocutionary acts of directives and commissives to negotiate his identity as a would-be leader of the Philippines. This can be used to clarify the third research question. Repetition is frequently used in the speech. There are two pairs of utterances which are the same, but they are used at different places of the speech when the speaker wants to emphasize that point. And similar sentence pattern is used when the speaker wants to express his opinion or feeling about certain aspect, which can arouse the audiences’ attention and touch the audiences’ heart. The mood of the speeches varies according to the speaker’s categorization of different contexts.

As can be seen from the data, Duterte’s speech acts are tending to be the statement of fact and assertion. He expressed his hope and asserted to the citizen about the future of the nation. The types of speech acts used by President Duterte reflect that he is a less direct speaker, who is not that direct as the Presidents from the other western countries. His speech techniques are tending to be more oriental and more polite. So, the linguistic preferences can also give clues about the behaviour, manner and thinking about that particular culture. These clues are all related to the speaker’s ideology. All in all, every utterance expressed by Duterte aims to persuade his citizens to act and believe in him.

Conclusion

It can be found from the above discussion that the representative speech acts frequently appeared in Rodrigo Duterte’s utterances. The speaker tends to express his personality of showing fact and providing support to those needed. Therefore, he uses the representatives to express his strong belief. Directive speech acts indicates that he wishes to use his power to command the citizen to do something or achieve some goals, which makes the world meet the words through the addressee. Then, the declarative speech acts rarely appear in Rodrigo Duterte’s utterances, which shows that he is not very direct in making a difference through his utterance.

The speech acts of Rodrigo Duterte reveal his personality to a large extent. As a political leader, Rodrigo Duterte’s speech tend to be indirect and clear to win the audiences’ trust and acceptance. His utterances show that he places the interest of the people the top priority. The second highest frequency of directives manifested that Rodrigo Duterte was making use of his power and authority as the newly elected President. All speech acts of Rodrigo Duterte show that he wants to make great contribution to the country during his presidency.

In conclude, the Speech Act theory is an analytical and practical theory, which can be employed to analyze the political speech. It tends to interpret and identify the information or the meaning of the discourse both from words and context. However, this research fails to display itself from all aspects related to the context, such as the topic, the setting, the channel and the code. In the future, the experiential meaning and interpersonal meaning of the political speech can be a good research topic.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

12.10.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.10.02.55

Online ISSN

2357-1330