International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

A Semantic Investigation into the Use of Modal Auxiliary Verbs in the Manifesto of a Ghanaian Political Party
Mark Nartey, Ferguson Ebo Yankson

Political election manifestos are public declarations of political parties, in which they explicitly stipulate their policies in a bid to win over the electorate. This study explores, in situ, the semantic underpinnings of modal auxiliary verbs in the 2012 manifesto of a popular Ghanaian political party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and demonstrates perceptibly that modal auxiliary verbs have the propensity to reveal very subtle and nuance meanings of the nature of political discourse. Rooted in a content qualitative research paradigm, the analysis reveals that modal auxiliary verbs are used extensively in the manifesto to give the message a sense of intention, promise, obligation and necessity in a conscious and strategic attempt to persuade the electorate. To this end, we avow that political rhetoric is conditioned by specific aims and exact themes. The findings of the study bear implications for pedagogy, the theory of modality, text construction and/or composition and further discourse analytical studies on political speeches, particularly on political manifestos.

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