A Non-Verbal Study of Some Presidential Debates: An Interactional Sociolinguistic Reflections

  • Uwalaka, E. N. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Oyebamiji M. P. Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
  • Olaosun I. E. Department of Languages, College of Humanities, Glorious Vision University, Ogwa, Edo State, Nigeria.


The aim of this study is to uncover the discourse characteristics of election debates in Nigeria using the interpretive text of interactional sociolinguistics. The objectives are to identify and analyse the non-verbal interactional sociolinguistic features in the responses of the presidential aspirants. The data is drawn from presidential debate organised by the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG) on 22nd March, 2015. This presidential debate was purposively selected because of the fact, it was the last debate that Nigeria has experienced till date. The analysis is guided by the concept of non-verbal contextualisational cues of Gumperz (1982) model of interactional sociolinguistic framework. The findings reveal various verbal features which manifested through different non-verbal features. The findings show that the aspirants made use of non-verbal features such as gestures, facial expressions and gaze as emotional qualifiers in their responses to convey meanings in the debate. They were illustrated to reveal the aspirants’ emotional feelings towards the electorate and the country. The study is significant as it has contributed to the existing literature in non-verbal communication and the analysis has helped in understanding of the debates.

How to Cite
N., Uwalaka, E.; P., Oyebamiji M.; E., Olaosun I.. A Non-Verbal Study of Some Presidential Debates: An Interactional Sociolinguistic Reflections. SAU JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES, [S.l.], v. 1, n. .1., p. 51-72, aug. 2022. Available at: <https://journals.sau.edu.ng/index.php/sjh/article/view/801>. Date accessed: 30 sep. 2022.