POWER THROUGH LINGUISTIC MODALITIES IN INDONESIAN PRESIDENTIAL SPEECHES
Language plays a crucial role in political speech. The use of a particular language canreflect or be influenced by the speaker’s ideology, power, cultural/social background, region, or social status. This paper is concerned with the relationship between language and power, specifically as manifested in the language used by an Indonesian president in international forums. It aims to uncover the power relations that were projected through the linguistic features of the president’s speech texts, particularly the use of modal verbs. Data for this paper are the speeches on the topics of peace and climate change delivered by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in international forums during his first and second presidential terms. This paper’s analysis of linguistic modalities uses Fairclough’s three-dimensional model of critical discourse analysis (CDA) to answer its research questions. The results show that, in projecting his power, SBY used several linguistic modal verbs. From the context of the modality used it can be understood that the president conveyed his strategic desire to be himself as he tried to relate to the audience (as he assumed it to be) and construct an image of himself, of his audience, and of their relationship. The president produced discourse that embodied assumptions about the social relations between his leadership and the audience and asserted both his legitimate power as president and his expert power. Through the language used, SBY created, sustained, and replicated the fundamental inequalities and asymmetries in the forums he attended.
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