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What Lies Underneath a Political Speech?: Critical Discourse Analysis of Thai PM’s Political Speeches Aired on the TV Programme Returning Happiness to the People

Jonathan Rante Carreon
  • Department of English, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Huachiew Chalermprakiet University, Samutprakarn, Thailand
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Dr Chavalin Svetanant
Published Online: 2017-12-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0032


The main goal of the study is to critically investigate the major elements of the political speeches of the Thai Prime Minister, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. Informed by van Dijk’s (1997) concept of Political Discourse Analysis, a corpus, composed of 10,672 word types and 325,398 word tokens, was examined for keywords related to the addressor, the addressee, and the political speech itself. The words with the highest relative frequencies were iteratively categorised into themes and a dialogic investigation was conducted on a portion of the original Thai version. The findings reveal that keywords relating to information conveyed by the addressor accounted for 62.86% (N=154) followed by keywords relating to functions of language at 22.04% (N=54). The high frequencies of these words shed light on the justification of the political, economic and social agenda, which were conveyed by the junta government using deontically modalised language. The quantitative and qualitative data analysis also indicate that the English and Thai speeches target different audiences. This discrepancy implicitly reflects an awkward situation where the military government attempts to present a good image to the international community while imposing actual military governance in the country.

Keywords: critical discourse analysis; deontic modality; keyword analysis; dialogic positioning; political speech


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About the article

Received: 2017-03-03

Accepted: 2017-11-15

Published Online: 2017-12-22

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 638–655, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0032.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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