Pronominal Choice in the Positive Self and Negative Other Representation of Hate Speech in Selected Kenyan Political Speeches


  • June Chebet Chelule Author
  • Prof. Author
  • Dr. Author


Politicians often employ the pronouns ‘us’ to show solidarity which is contrasted with ‘them’ used to exclude or to portray the out group(s) often in a negative way. All pronominal choices can be interpreted to give diverse meanings. The objectives of this qualitative study were to identify instances of hate speech in sampled Kenyan politicians’ speeches on the YouTube platform and to interrogate pronominal choices in the political speeches considered as hate speech in Kenya. This study identified pronouns as a discursive strategy on hate speech. A purposive sampling of data was carried out and a total of ten political speeches were collected between the period 2015 and 2020. The speeches were transcribed and translated then thematically analysed guided by the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework; in particular the Foucauldian theory and Discourse Historical Analysis (DHA) approach, and Relevance theory. This paper focuses on pronouns and how the speakers advance the positive self and negative other representation in ten sampled speeches. The findings on pronouns reveal that the speakers intentionally select pronouns and use them to achieve exclusion, solidarity, authority, opinions and collectivization among other functions. Pronouns reveal the speakers’ intentions which enable understanding in order to mitigate the risks of hate speech. The findings are useful to politicians in making informed speech choices, educating listeners to be discerning and to policy makers in understanding and controlling hate speech.

Author Biographies

  • Prof.

    Professor, Department of Literary and Communication studies

  • Dr.

    Lecturer, Department of Literary and Communication studies