Role of Female Political Leaders: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Benazir Bhutto and Hillary Clinton Speeches

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Mahaam Khan


The research deals with the area of discourse in linguistics. It incorporates the use of discourse, i.e critical discourse, political discourse and Systematic-Functional linguistics model by Halliday to analyze the chosen content. The sample of this research is Benazir Bhutto’s speech at Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi on 27thDecember, 2007 and Hillary Clinton’s speech at Democratic National Convention at Philadelphia on 28th July, 2016. The research is qualitative in nature which provides a descriptive analysis of both speeches by applying the SFL model and use of rhetoric. The purpose was to critically analyze the underlying ideologies and implied meanings in the selected speeches of Benazir Bhutto and Hillary Clinton to observe their role in power. For analyzing the speeches, it was an essential element of the research to construct inferences by thorough reading and build authentic material supporting the topic statement. A socio-cognitive approach of CDA was considered liable to interpret the speeches critically in terms of discourse evaluation. Later on, an area of current study has been focused that is political discourse analysis which aims to portray that how it controls the mind of public and reform their opinions. The significance of this research was to compare two female leaders in separate communities; by analyzing the strategies consumed to exist in traditional communities with male chauvinism. The major findings resulted in portraying the strong use of language by Hillary Clinton and Benazir Bhutto according to their context of the environment. Both speakers were pro-public, conscious and nation oriented with strong ideological space in their mind. There was a minor limitation of language as in the translated version of Benazir’s speech. It resulted in bringing forth the outcomes of efficient language use that engages public densely and builds a power base for female leadership.

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Author Biography

Mahaam Khan, Lecturer, GC Women University Sialkot