express social and personal relations”. The speaker is using the language as a means to intrude
into his own speech event: the expression of his own comments, attitudes, and evaluations and
also of the relationship he sets up between himself and the listener ? in particular, the
communication role he adopts of informing, questioning, greeting, persuading, and the like
(Halliday, 1971).
The speaker/ writer persona is related to attitude, personalization and the place of the
speaker/writer. The speaker/writer persona is concerned with the neutral attitudes of the speaker
and writer through the use of positive and negative language. According to Coffin (2006), he
argues that social distance on the other hand signifies how close the speakers are. For instance,
the use of nicknames shows the degree of intimacy between them. Relative social statues ask
whether they are of equal in power and knowledge on a subject. The speaker uses language in
providing relationship between himself and the hearer. Two terms that are used to express the
interpersonal functions are modality and mood. Modality extends between extensive positive and
extensive negative in social communication. Mood concerns the role that is selected by the
speaker in a speech situation and the role that is allocated the addressee. (Huzhuanglin, 1988).
Modality refers to a speaker’s attitude towards or opinion about the truth of a proposition
expressed by a sentence. It also covers their attitude towards the situation or event described by a
sentence (Wang, 2010). It also refers to the intermediate scales between the extreme positive and
the extreme negative which is one of the most important systems in social communication.
Modality involves the use of modal verbs, tenses of the sentences and personal pronouns in a
political discourse. The extracts below shows how the President make use of modal verbs with
varied degree of politeness:
But we must have the courage to fight for what we believe in, undeterred by the fear of failing or losing…SONA 1 High Politeness
I believe quite strongly that there should be a separation between God and State…SONA 1 Median Politeness
There can never be real, tangible and felt development without making our people feel secure and it is our duty to uplift the spirit of the people’s welfare. SONA 1 Low Politeness
The protection of the environment must be made priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or another…SONA 2 Highly Politess
You have to come up with a substitute, either spend to restore the virginity of their source or I will tax you to death…SONA 2 Median Politeness
You saw the video. Is she a credible woman? Can she be a moral person?…SONA 2 Low Politeness
The majority of specific modal verbs such as will, must, should, and can among others in President
Duterte’s speech is neither coincidence or random. This is evident in the visual analysis and
counting that the use of modal verbs in median politeness in his two State of the Nation
Addresses suggest that the President in intentionally trying to calculate the tone of his addresses
making it not less or too formal.
The frequent use of modal verbs are relatively used as an effective persuading strategy in
transmitting his political goals and purposes in delivering his address. The usage of modal verbs
is suitable to emphasizing his determination and confidence in dealing with social problems and
in bringing genuine change to the country. Boicu (2007) claims that role of the speaker’s
intentional and selective use of modal verbs plays an important part in the articulation of
directive speech acts. Furthermore, in a political discourse, the politeness of the speaker is often
expressed through the strategic use of modal verbs.
Tenses of Sentences
Tense is the time of a clause. Halliday (1997) points out that primary tense means past,
present or future at the moment of speaking; it is the time relative to “now”. Furthermore, Wodak
& Meyer (2001) stressed out that it relates to the way in which tense and aspect are used in
creating ‘understanding’ of the events. This creates a relationship between the speaker and his
audience which provides identification of the validity of the statement contained in the speeches.
As an example, the use of simple present tense creates an event as reality or fact, while the use of
present perfect makes a past event relevant at the moment; the simple past tense can simply
present an event from the past. The effect of the tense choices can be established by changing the
simple past tenses to present perfect and vice versa in noting the different semantic effects as
shown in the following extracts:
And I intend to do something during my term. Now, I’m sure that the heavy machineries would come in and even the power…SONA 1
When I decided to seek the presidency of the Republic, I knew what the ills of our country were; I knew their cause; and I was briefed on those who caused the causes. SONA 1
In this quest, I will put at stake my honor, my life, and the presidency itself. SONA 1
At this stage, I also have directed the DILG to undertake nationwide information and campaign on federalism…SONA 1
That is why I ask you to join me in this fight against illegal drugs and all forms of criminality. SONA 2
When I took my oath of office a year or so ago, I knew that our country was reeling from a multitude of problems. SONA 2
So I will increase the taxes. Then I will think of something that will compensate or make up for the damage or at least the income restored. SONA 2
So much time has lapsed, so many lives have been lost and so much destruction has been wrought…SONA 2
Therefore, it is important to consider that the use of tense and aspect are involved with
the time frame of an action or process and especially with its impact on the representation of that
action or process being true and relevant. Considering the tenses used in the corpora, it has been
found out that the simple present is frequently used, as well as the simple past and future. On the
contrary, the future tense is used to sum up President Duterte’s agenda for the coming year, to
demonstrate his plans of government for the a specific year until the end of his term as the
president and lastly, to reveal his proposal of reformations in order to promote sustainable
progress for the country. Meanwhile, the past tense is used to wrap up his accomplished goals
and visions in the previous years or to recall experiences from the past as foundation of the next
plan of actions.
Personal Pronouns
The important use of a pronoun in an utterance or writing is to substitute a noun in order
to avoid monotony and redundancy. Chimbarange (2013) refer to a personal pronoun as a
substitution of a noun. Pronouns can be used to refer back to something previously mentioned to
avoid repetition. In political speeches, personal pronouns are used to address people, either to an
audience or the speaker. According to Irimiea (2010) cited by Al-Fakai (2014) political
speakers’ use of pronouns is used to refer to themselves or their audience which can be a
significant part of the message. Pronouns can be used to focus or to obscure conceal
responsibility and agency. Notably, in the State of the Nation Addresses of President Duterte, the
pronoun I is the most commonly used throughout his addresses. He uses the pronoun I to take
hold of his power to make certain statements. For example, in the following extracts below:
I wish to assure everyone though that vindictiveness is not in my system. Just like you and I, all, equal treatment and equal protection are what I ask for our people. SONA 1
I declared Martial Law in Mindanao because I believed that that was the fastest way to quell the rebellion at the least cost of lives and properties. SONA 2
I challenge you, you want a debate in public? Okay, we’ll have it. SONA 2
According to Wang (2010), the use of first person pronoun “we” is to shorten the distance
between the speaker and the audience, regardless of the differences in age, status in life,
profession and etc. that may include the speaker and the listeners in the same venue, thus making
the audience feel much closer to the speaker and his propositions. In contrast, the third person
pronouns “we” and “they” are seldom used due to the fact that the political speeches are
addressing one another instead of the potential listeners so they tend to use the inclusive pronoun
we. Although President Duterte makes statements that begin with “We can” and “We will” ?it is
only used to encourage support of the people in realizing his plans of change or to persuade their
audience to agree with them.
Analysis of the Textual Function of the SONAs
The textual function is involved in the language mechanism that has something to do with
the coherence and unity of the text. It is responsible for creating cohesive structured texts and
communicative events. In a structural frame, this can be analysed in terms of theme and other
linguistic devices like cohesion and coherence (Haisnan, 2014). The 2016 SONA is the
President’s first State of the Nation Address as the current President of the Philippines. The
SONA contains the following information:
? Salutation
? War against Criminality and Illegal Drugs
? Improving justice System Access
? Protection of Human Rights ; Social Justice
? Peace ; Security
? Fight Against Poverty
? Taxation Reform
? Infrastructure Development
? Environmental Protection and Conservation
? Health and Education
? Federalism
? Freedom of Information
On the other hand, the 2017 State of the Nation Address has the following information:
War against illegal drugs
International and local pressures
Red insurgency, Martial Law Declaration ; Terrorism
National Land Use Act
Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management
Bangsamoro Transition Commission
Tax Reform
This paper critically analyses the two State of the Nation Addresses of President Rodrigo
Duterte to explain and expose their existential and interpersonal functions based on Faircloughs
Critical Discourse Analysis. From this analysis of existential, interpersonal and textual functions,
through the use of mental processes , it can be therefore summarized that President Duterte
makes use of more of mental processes in establishing his accomplishments and plans of putting
into actions his plans and development goals in different aspects of the government. The analysis
of the interpersonal function of the addresses proposes that through the use of modal verbs,
tenses of sentences and personal pronouns is an effective way of establishing the President’s
attitude about the truth of the propositions presented in the speeches. Similarly, the textual
investigation reveals that the addresses were coherent, accurate and logical.
The study confirms that the choice of linguistic forms of political speeches is
ideologically oriented that in various ways which the speaker has maximize in expressing his
ideologies and intentions in the speech. Therefore, political discourse has always been
ideologically oriented depending on the social, cultural and historical framework within where it
is created.
Finally, it can be concluded that Critical Discourse Analysis offers a thorough method in
analysing public addresses as it investigates the functions of language structure in creating
certain meanings and interpretations which are not too clear for the audience. CDA is also a
proven tool to in revealing the speaker’s attitude, participant’s involvement and their roles in the
discourse in analysing the relation between meanings and wordings that affects the organization
and linguistic aspects implied in the address.


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