President Duterte’s Strategic Use of Pronominal Personal Pronouns in his State of the Nation Addresses

Janice Abejero


This paper investigated the intelligent ways on how function words such as pronouns can be strategically used in political discourses to highlight positive image of a politician, providing avenue for the establishment of self, emphasizing authority, commitment, responsibility and accomplishments, also associating oneself in relation to groups, and disassociation and negativity towards opposition. Guided by the principles of critical discourse analysis, this paper analyzed how self-image, inclusion and exclusion, as well as possible negative image of others can be exposed through investigating the strategic use of pronouns I, we, and they in a corpus of state of the nation addresses of a controversial politician, often noted for his unpopular beliefs and language choices. The qualitative analysis was able to discover the president’s high regard of self-involvement in governance evident in the frequency of use of the pronoun I, especially regarding oneself as authority valuing responsibility, accountability, and commitment, yet unabashed by regarding oneself in the negative light occasionally. The ambiguity of the pronoun we has been shown in its use in relation to the politician’s regard as a member of the governing administration and as a member of the entire citizenry imploring nationalism. As opposed to the notion of the use of the pronoun they to create the divide and therefore exclusion and negativity towards opposition, this paper uncovered that this is very rare in the corpus.


corpus; political discourse; pronoun; rhetoric

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