LEXICAL AND DISCURSIVE CONSTRUCTION OF NATIONAL IDENTITIES IN SELECTED ENGLISH-MEDIUM NATIONAL ANTHEMS OF AFRICAN STATES
Slave traders and colonizers dominated Africa until the middle of 20th century. After this period came the
quest for independence. At independence, a unique national identity of African nations was formed.
Existing studies have examined national anthem and national identity construction from political,
psychological, sociological, historical, and philosophical points of view. These existing studies have
underexplored lexical and discursive construction of national identities in selected English-medium
national anthems of African nations in systemic terms. This study, therefore, examines lexical and
discursive construction of national identities in selected English-medium national anthems of African
states with a view to unearthing regional differences and similarities in the construction of national
identities. This study adopts de Cillia et al. (2009) discursive strategies deployed in the construction of
national identities, complementing with the use of Halliday (1999)’s systemic functional linguistics as the
theoretical framework. Out of 54 nations in Africa, we selected four nations from each region—central,
east, north, south and west—along with these 20 nations’ English-medium national anthems. These
national anthems are written in English, and those that were not originally written in English have
translated English versions for accessibility. This study demonstrates that the different lexicalizations
deployed to construct national identities in English-medium national anthems revealed collective memory,
and the socio-political and religious upheavals that are peculiar to African nations.
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