(Im)politeness studies of selected 2015 political campaign hate speeches in Nigeria



  • Onyinyechi Blessing Udoumoh Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Onyebuchi Florence Orabueze Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka


Face Threatening Acts, Hate Speech, (Im)politeness, Nigeria, Political Campaign


The work examined hate speech in context of political campaign discourse, using an aspect of Brown and Levinson’s politeness model of Face Threatening Acts (FTAs) and Culpeper’s impoliteness model to appraise eight purposively selected 2015 campaign speeches of politicians from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) of Nigeria. The data constitute eight transcribed 2015 political campaign extracts, from notable Nigerian on-line newspapers, found to contain hate speeches. Political campaigns in Nigeria, in recent times, have witnessed an increase in the use of hate speech and searing language. This has become the motivation for this study since hate electioneering campaign may portend incitement, violence and face loss for the parties involved. The result of the study showed that hate speech during political campaigns is embedded in impoliteness strategies targeted at the rival political players and translates to the electorate as face threatening acts, as they become the indirect victims of the forcefulness of such speech acts. Whereas negative politeness FTAs of advice, warnings, and reminding a hearer to do an act were mostly employed by political speakers to coerce the electorate for their votes; negative impoliteness strategies such as, ridicule, frighten and off-record impoliteness strategy of unpleasant implicatures were deployed to flaw, threaten and disrepute political rivals. Thus, hate speech in political campaigns is typified by a preponderance of impoliteness strategies and FTAs recurring throughout such speeches without redress, emphasizing the deliberation of such speech acts.


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How to Cite

Udoumoh, O. B., & Orabueze, O. F. (2022). (Im)politeness studies of selected 2015 political campaign hate speeches in Nigeria. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(3), 28-47. https://doi.org/10.58256/njhs.v6i3.962