Speech Acts of Concern: Choice of Utterances by Mahathir Mohamad

Uma Rani A. Rethina Velu, Puspalata C. Suppiah, Nalini Arumugam


This study explores the language use of a former prime minister of Malaysia from a discourse perspective on the notion of concern. Tun Dr. Mahathir’s (TDM) speech during the second annual general meeting of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and his interview with the New Straits Times (NST) are selected data for analysis. In both texts, his language mediates concern towards Malays on socio-economic progress. Analysis of Mahathir’s speech and interview using a lexico-grammatical approach toward Malay reveals how the former prime minister uses language to mediate with various stages of concern in a multi-ethnic country. Findings show the discourse on concern through patterns of his language choice reflects mono-ethnic concern towards the Malay economic and financial status apart from his inclusion and role as a political leader of a newfound Malay party. Interestingly, Mahathir’s continuous struggle for the Malays is acclaimed through his utterances as the ideal leader for Malay progress in the past, present, and future without fear or favour.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijssr.v10i2.19809


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