LANGUAGE THAT DIVIDES: PRAGMATICS OF SELECTED SPEECHES OF ABUBAKAR SHEKAU
Extant studies on Boko Haram in Nigeria within linguistics have investigated the phenomenon within the ambit of CDA, critical stylistics and pragmatics. This study investigates the actions of the insurgent group from a pragmalinguistic lens, using as its data, the online videos of the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. Searle’s (1965) version of Speech Act and Halliday’s mood structure were employed in the analysis of 60 purposively selected excerpts from a total of 5 videos downloaded from the YouTube during the heat of the insurgency (2011 – 2014). The finding shows that directive acts were used to give warnings, expressive acts were used to appreciate Allah for the victories he gave them in the successful execution of their attacks, declarative acts were used to declare and name the capturing of communities
which they declared as Islamic Caliphates, commissive acts were used to state the sect’s commitment to the course they are engaged in and the assertive acts were used to claim responsibility for the numerous attacks across the country. Similarly, the indicative mood type featured mostly in the speeches presented by the sect, contrary to the limited occurrence of the imperative mood types. The study concludes that the language of the sect reveals the incapability of the government to tackle insurgency and terrorism.