Legitimacy and legality in national identity construction : A Study of Southern Cameroons’ secessionist discourse
This article studies the use of discourses of legality and legitimacy in order to justify separation amongst Anglophone secessionists in Cameroon. It was motivated by the belief that the study of self-determination can be analyzed by bringing together legal, historical as well as linguistic perspectives. Building on previous works dealing with national identity construction, this article focuses on the linguistic strategies used by independence activists from the former British Trust-territory of Southern Cameroons to justify their fight for independence. The analysis of thirteen (13) speeches given by prominent Southern Cameroonian nationalists was guided by Wodak et al.’s Discourse-Historical Approach and led to the identification of three (3) semantic macrostructures. The latter were found to be enforced in discourse by strategies such as nomination and predication, as well as common place arguments, which in turn are achieved through word choice, intertextuality, storytelling and comparison.
Discourse, Nationalism, Identity, Southern Cameroons, Discourse-historical approach
Raymond Echitchi holds a PhD in English Linguistics from the Complutense University of Madrid and is currently holds a research fellowship in the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics at UNED. He was previously an assistant lecturer at San Antonio Catholic University, based in Murcia, Spain. He is a member of the TISAAL research group as well as several international associations such as the British Association for Applied Linguistics and DiscourseNet: International Association for Discourse Studies. His research interests include discourse and society, language contact, and national identity construction, bilingual education and bilingual language policy. He has an increasing number of publications, including a monograph, an edited volume (as a co-editor) and several articles.
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