Meaning Conception and Perception in Political Campaign Adverts – A Multimodal Discourse Approach

  •  M. S. Abdullahi - Idiagbon    


The complexity of human thoughts is manifested in his words, actions, and other meaning-signalling devices. The use of language or graphical material like motion or motionless pictures/images as well as natural or electronic sound is imbued with information, ideology and properties capable of effectively conveying implicit and explicit meaning to the target audience. A multimodal discourse, hence, becomes a viable means of demonstrating all these qualities. Language-use, especially in politics, turns an individual or a state’s instrument used to arouse sentiments, win sympathy and trigger the sense of submission and followership. Thus, an appreciable quantum of meaning of the speaker’s utterances can be strongly enhanced by a multimodal discourse which makes use of multiple semiotic resources like language, visual images, sound, space, etc. However, language or other media through which we communicate do not convey the ‘objective truth’ as it is made to believe; there is always subjectivity in the so-called objectivity. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) warns against the assumption of objectivity notwithstanding the multimodal means of such discourse, and it further sensitises people on ways of politicking with language. CDA goes beyond the borders of text and other semiotic means employed in the process of encoding a campaign advert. to perceiving meaning as bi-directional and that the actual meaning is hidden but retrievable from many contending factors like social class, ideologies, ethnicity, religion and interests, etc. which are not even necessarily found in words, images, sound, music and other semiotic resources woven to construct such discourse. This paper investigates a political campaign television advert of Nigerian’s President Goodluck Jonathan in his desperate move to return as the President of Nigeria using, essentially, CDA approach to explore the multimodality of this discourse construction. The paper further explores the perception of this campaign advert not only on the basis of audience’s sophistication and individuality but also on what the speech seeks to achieve taking into account both linguistic and non-linguistic communicative facilities.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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