International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

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

Linguistic Analysis of Malawi Political Newspaper Cartoons on President Joyce Banda: Towards Grice’s Conversational Implicature
Wellman Kondowe, Flemmings Fishani Ngwira, Precious Madula

The study aims at analysing verbal and nonverbal features of Malawi newspaper political cartoons on how they employ linguistic features in their portrayal of political leaders. Twenty Point of Order cartoons that depict President Joyce Banda and her government were selected from The Nation newspaper from October 2012 to May 2013 and were analysed using Grice’s Conversational Implicature as a theoretical framework. Results of the analysis indicate that Malawi cartoonists oftentimes do not adhere to the conversational maxims by flouting, suspending, and opting out. Flouting maxim of manner is found to be the most preferred way of exploiting the maxims through the use of hedges. The study concludes that the cartoonist deliberately provides vague information not to show confusion or lack of authoritative knowledge; but rather to indicate precision. The vagueness is strategic to avoid appearing judgmental and prompt the readers to generate their personal understanding of the president’s actions by taking into account the daily social and political context.

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