Albert Mogambi Moinani, Margaret Nasambu Barasa


This paper explores political leaders’ utterances in regard to the Mau Forest complex in Kenya. The paper adopts an ecolinguistic approach to critical discourse analysis to shed light on how political leaders use language to encode their perceptions and feelings about environmental conservation in general and Mau Forest restoration in particular. Awareness on such language use is important because of the understanding that political leaders are part of the elite members of society who inform and direct public opinion on many critical issues in society. The political class also controls the agenda of public debate on many societal issues. Using Critical Discourse Analysis within Halliday’s (1994) Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) approach, this paper brought to fore how the political class uses language to (de)emphasize or conceal meanings depending on whether such meanings or beliefs are for or against the political leaders’ interests. The findings revealed that the political leaders perceived the forest conservation programme as oppression, distortion and provocation to ethnic-based violence. In addition, the politicians’ lexical choices indicate that the politicians perceived the Mau Forest restoration programme as a falsehood propagated by the political rivals.

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lexical choices, metafunctions, beliefs, SFG, forest conservation, Kenya

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