Hashim Garbet

Open Educational College / Ministry of Education




Lexicalization and wording are tools within Critical Discourse Analysis that  refer to the extension of meaning beyond words. The lexical choice of wording and lexicalized items often deployed to implement various meanings for certain purposes. This study explores the critical view of British PM Boris Johnson’s discourse towards coronavirus. It tries to investigate how words are lexicalized or reworded for calling addressees’ attentions and caution concerning this epidemic disease. The present study deploys Fairclough’s (1989) model of meaning in analysis two speeches of Boris Johnson during coronavirus. According Fairclogh, words as containers of meaning can be reproduced to reflect different concepts and issues. The study concludes that language user, namely Boris Johnson, makes use frequently of lexicalization and wording in order for his message to be delivered successfully and for his discourse to comprehend seriously. It explores that lexicalized and reworded items are deployed to reproduced to intensify and magnify the intended meanings. So that, the addressees consume and receive the message of warning of epidemic disease successfully.

Keywords; CDA, lexicalization, wording, boosters, coronavirus, ideology

تحليل الخطاب النقدي للصياغة المعجمية في خطابات مختارة للسيد بوريس جونسون

: فايروس كورونا كدراسة حالة

هاشم كربت عبد

وزارة التربية\ الكلية التربوية المفتوحة \ بغداد



تعد المعجمية والصياغة أدوات ضمن التحليل النقدي للخطاب و التي تشير إلى توسيع المعنى إلى ما هو أبعد من الكلمات. غالبًا ما يتم استخدام الاختيار المعجمي للصياغة والعناصر المعجمية لتنفيذ معاني مختلفة لأغراض معينة. تستكشف هذه الدراسة النظرة النقدية لخطاب رئيس الوزراء البريطاني بوريس جونسون تجاه فيروس كورونا. يحاول التحقيق في كيفية مفردات الكلمات أو إعادة صياغتها لجذب انتباه المخاطبين والحذر بشأن هذا المرض الوبائي. تستخدم الدراسة الحالية نموذج فيركلاوو (1989) للمعنى في تحليل خطابين لبوريس جونسون أثناء فيروس كورونا. وفقًا لفيركلوو، يمكن إعادة إنتاج الكلمات كحاويات للمعنى لتعكس مفاهيم وقضايا مختلفة. وخلصت الدراسة إلى أن مستخدم اللغة، وهو بوريس جونسون، كثيرا ما يلجأ إلى المفردات والصياغة حتى يتم إيصال رسالته بنجاح ولكي يتم فهم خطابه بجدية. وتكتشف الدراسة أن العناصر المعجمية والمعاد صياغتها يتم توظيفها لإعادة إنتاجها لأجل تكثيف وتضخيم المعاني المقصودة. بحيث يستوعب المرسل إليهم رسالة التحذير من المرض الوبائي ويستقبلونها بنجاح.

الكلمات المفتاحية ؛ CDA، المعجمية، الصياغة، التعزيز، فيروس كورونا، الأيديولوجية



State of the Problem

Wording and lexicalization both refer to vocabulary and the extension beyond the boundaries of words. The wording also relates to vocabulary i.e., referring to the various ways to a meaning can be ‘worded’. For Fairclough (1992: 76), the same word could have different meanings that correspond to different domains, institutions, practices, values and perspectives. With the Coronavirus invasion, world leaders and organizations recall people across the world to be cautious. This asks for the role of critical discourse analysis of rewording and lexicalized items to play in producing discourse differently. Simultaneously, how meanings of such items are intensified and magnified to reflect the negative message of that disease epidemically

The Importance of the Study

This study is of high importance since it focuses on the composition of discourse in a way that citizens consume it seriously. It tackles the effects of coronavirus on British people and how the government represented by the PM is getting ready for this disease. It sheds light on the manipulation of language structures within CDA for different purposes. It also shows how political discourse dominates other types of discourse and shifts public opinion.

The Aims

The study aims to analyze critically the discourse analysis of lexicalization in selected speeches of British Prime Minister Mr. Johnson during the pandemic Coronavirus. It identifies syntactic variations with which linguistic items are lexicalized and meanings can be intensified or exaggerated. It critically investigates the way lexical words and posters are used to deliver the message of warning about coronavirus danger.

The limits of the study 

The present study is limited to critical discourse analysis of lexicalization for two selected speeches of the British PM. Boris Johnson concerning coronavirus in 2020. The first speech is at the start of the coronavirus spreading, while the second one evolves on the time when Mr Johnson developed symptoms. The study is also limited to applying Fairclough’s (1989) meaning to explore certain concepts of meanings.

The Hypotheses 

The study hypothesizes:

  1. Lexicalization strategies such as re-lexicalization and over-lexicalization are expected to be used frequently in political discourse.
  2. Critical discourse analysis can hidden ideologies and implement meanings behind words.
  3. The adopted model of Fairclough (1989) fits fully in analyzing the selected data.

Previous studies 

This section focuses on shedding light on several previous studies that tackle the same topic.

The first study is “Critical Discourse Analysis Of Newspapers’ Articles: CPEC In The Lens of Lexicalization” by Ekhteyar, Aleem, Kumar, Ali,

 and Shabbir. The study aims to explore the use of lexical items in Pakistani English newspapers that deal with economics news like CPEC. The study makes use ofFairclogh’s theoretical model which is similar to Hallidayan’s theoretical model of ‘lexicalization. The outcomes show that news subjects have been similarly represented in different tones with which news intensity is affected. The interdisciplinary aspect of this study makes it different from its original form.

The second study is “Lexicalization of Ideology in National Anthems of Selected African States” by OjoAkinleyeAyinuola. In 2020. This study investigates the way lexicalization is used to cover ideological inclinations in national anthems of some selected African states to reveal the hidden ideologies in the anthems. This paper employs the Systemic Functional Linguistics of Halliday and the Socio-Semiotic model of Furlough within the theoretical framework of CDA. The selected data consists of 20 national anthems denoting ideology-laden were purposively selected. The anthems from each region of African states.

The present study differs from the above studies in that it deploys Fairclogh’s (1989) model of meaning in analyzing the lexicalization of Boris Johnson’s speeches as political discourse

The procedure

The present study adopts the following procedure;

  1. Giving an introduction including the problem, aims hypotheses and limits of the study.
  2. Supplying literature review of CDA, political discourse and ideology, shedding light on lexicalization and detailing its subtypes.

Explaining the model adopted and

  1. analyzing the selected data.
  2. Drawing conclusions suggestions and recommendations.

Review of Literature 

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)

Critical Discourse Analysis (hence CDA), merges a combination of cognitive, ideological critique and linguistic analysis (van Dijk, 1998).CDA goals to explore ways with which discourse and ideology are interwoven skillfully. Within such ways, many linguistic tools such as grammar, style, wording and other aspects of discourse are chosen for manipulating how comprehension and thinking are shaped, produced and moulded, hence CDA aims (Johnstone, 2008).

For Fairclough (1989), within the scrutiny of CDA, language can be seen as a representation of social practice. He affirms that “using language is a process that is commonly used as social conduct”. According to Fairclough, CDA consists of three features; namely, relational, dialectical and transdisciplinary (2010). It is relational because its central concentration is on the social relations which are organized hierarchically, i.e., “relations within relations”. The dialectical feature denotes the complexity of social relations and the organization into layers. This means that discourse cannot be tackled independently, rather its understanding needs an essential analysis of multiple relations; namely layers of relations.

Political discourse 

Political discourse refers to a type of discourse used formally in special settings in which the issues under discussion are important and related to society. Schaffner (1996), defines it generally as a subtype of discourse that stands on two standards, functional and thematic. First, its functionality refers to functions that achieve different political purposes. Second, thematically, it is primarily at the centre of politics. For Bourdieu (1995) political discourse is regarded as a beneficial device with which the social world is changed and reproduced as people shape and change their way of thinking in representing that world. Political discourse has the power to direct and mobilize such social forces giving them the ability to formulate new views of reality (cited in Fairclough, 1995).In addition, Political discourse has a rhetoric aspect which refers to the powerful nature of persuade, and its capacity to enthuse (ibid: 2000). Accordingly, the discourse of politics is a strategy with which beliefs, opinions and ideologies are viewed, shaped and reproduced differently.

Ideology and meaning 

MacDonnell (1986), among others, has traced the history of ideology. According to him, before 1968 words’ meanings were coloured with bias and wriggle, and rarely were described as neutral and realistic (MacDonell, 1986). Posteriorly, meanings were truly analyzed referring to their relation to reality, society construction and politics which directly affect the daily lives of language users. At this point, scholars shift their focus away from language as a system of meanings, to centralize studying discourse analysis on other fields such as social hierarchy and politics. Mental objects, such as meanings, knowledge, attitudes and ideologies may be shared by members of groups, communities or cultures, and are therefore also social. Indeed, discourse is one of the major means and conditions of socially shared `minds’ in the first place. Similarly, specific, local meanings of discourse may be constructed in and by interaction of social participants (Coulter, 1989). In other words, a cognitive theory of discourse meaning, as proposed here, requires a sociocultural and interactional theory of meaning, and vice versa.

van Dijk (1995) maintains that it should be emphasized that probably the major dimension of discourse meaning controlled by ideologies is the selection of word meaning through lexicalization. Thus, an ecological ideology may be assumed to control a lexical item such as ‘dangerous’ in general sentences such as “Nuclear plants produce dangerous waste.”

Lexicalization: Defined

Wording and lexicalization both refer to vocabulary according to Fairclough (1992). The wording also relates to vocabulary i.e., referring to the various ways to a meaning can be ‘worded’. Fairclough explains that the same word could have different meanings which do not necessarily correspond to the dictionary because many overlapping and competing vocabularies correspond to different domains, institutions, practices, values and perspectives (1992: 76).

Fairclough explains further that shifts in word meaning can be indicative of shifts in discursive formations as they carry potential political and ideological significance. Word meanings are subtly changed as domains of experience may be reworded as part of social and political struggles. For example, the rewording takes place when people tend to describe other people who are ‘terrorists’ as ‘freedom fighters’ (ibid).

The preference of expressing meaning by a particular wording or lexical item entails ‘interpretation’ in a particular way and from a theoretical, cultural and/or ideological perspective. Different perspectives on the domain of experience entail different ways of wording them; it is in these terms that we should view alternative wordings…as one changes the wording one changes the meaning (Fairclough 1992).

van Dijk (2000) clarifies that “whether we call someone a ‘freedom fighter’, a ‘rebel’ or ‘terrorist’ is a lexical choice is very much dependent on our opinion of such a person, and such an opinion, in turn, depends on our ideological position, and the attitudes we have about the group that person belongs to.” Thus, we think about the person in terms of the qualities which we attribute to the category already pre-existing in our minds (Fowler 1991). The lexical choice is considered to be one of the key means, that explicitly or implicitly signal the speaker’s ideological opinions about events, people and participants. Hence, it can serve to display information in more or less prominent positions or implicit ones. Van Dijk (1995) emphasizes that “probably the major dimension of discourse meaning controlled by ideologies is the selection of word meaning through lexicalization.” So, lexicalization is one of the linguistic toolkits for textual analysis inCDA. Lexicalization or lexical choices are intentionally or unintentionally made to signal the relationship between participants as familiar, friendly or distant, and the situation to be less or more formal. To sum up, lexicalization is one of the diverse linguistic tools used in different orientations of discourse analysis. It shows how people construct meanings in texts under question.

Re-lexicalization and Over-lexicalization

Re-lexicalization refers to the chaotic phenomenon of word-creating or word-creating or word-juggling in the IRC (International-Relations-Council) context. It means that participants tend to play with language to produce hybrid and heteroglossic forms. This phenomenon is clear in classrooms because words are formed in a regular thread either from sound or spelling. Thus, re-lexicalization refers to the double stress a speaker has on a certain idea, issue, or claim. So it is the repetition of the same meaning using different linguistic and lexical styles.

The concept of over-lexicalization refers to the speaker’s overuse or the intensity of certain words or phrases so as to emphasize particular concepts and strongly convince the audience with their validity and correctness.Thus, the concept of re-lexicalization refers to the ways speakers reiterate their own and take up one another’s vocabulary selections in one form or another from turn to turn and develop and expand topics in doing so (Bahrami 1999). And over-lexicalization refers to the excessive use of lexical items taken from specific concepts (Werry 1996).


Holmes (1995:) states that boosters are lexical items that intensify or emphasize the force of an utterance. They include a wide of variety of lexical items such as modal verbs like “must”, or pragmatic particles or discourse markers as “of course”, “sure”, some modal adverbs as “certainly, absolutely, so, more, really, very and quiet”. So boosters are used to strengthen and increase the force of the effect of words on the receiver. They are the devices that are used by politicians as a means of persuasion.

It is important to mention the fact that some linguists use different terms to refer to the same concept. These terms are intensifiers, strengtheners, up-graders or boosting devices. Talbot (2003) clarifies that “boosters are elements that modify the force of a statement. Boosters serve as intensifiers and are used in expressions of interest or enthusiasm.” To sum up, boosters are used to build trust and confidence in audience of the impression of certainty they create. Boosting is a most frequently used rhetorical and persuasive device because they stress facts and strengthen the messages in communication.


Data Selection 

The selected data consists of two speeches taken from British MP Boris Johnson. The first speech was given at the start of the Coronavirus spread in 2020 and the second one was when MP Boris Johnson developed symptoms. 

Methods of Analysis

This study deploys Fairclough’s 1989 model of vocabulary. According to this model, vocabulary can be explored in many ways. It is preferable to use terms such as ‘wording’, ‘significant’ and ‘lexicalization’ as different containers of vocabulary or words. It is supposed to reflect different representations of words using overlexicalization, relexicalization and boosters. The study adopts a certain strategy in which lexicalized items reflect certain concepts that addressees consume seriously and comprehensively. 

Data Analysis 

Lexicalization entails using different parts of speeches like nouns, adjectives and verbs to express certain concepts and to persuade people to take some important steps towards a phenomenon.

Winning the “fight”

Throughout the two speeches, Johnson uses different words and techniques to show how dangerous the coronavirus is. The idea of “fight” is clear in the speeches. Johnson is trying to depict the fact that is not an easy “enemy” to fight. 

– the coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades (speech 1).

– we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer (speech 1).

Johnson describes the disease as the biggest threat that ever happened to British people. He is trying to raise peoples’ consciousness not to underestimate the impact and the danger of this disease. We face it. It is light a war. It is also devastating and it is a killer. All of these nouns and adjectives are employed to draw peoples’ attention to coronavirus. He uses personification when he describes the disease as a “killer” as if it is a human who has a killing staff to use. 

– we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help (speech 1).

– we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer (speech 1).

The president is emphasizing fighting. He urges people to do their best to defeat this virus. The government is attempting to provide people with different treatment equipment like ventilators and masks. Johnson repeats the same personification “invisible killer” just to enlighten people about the danger of this “killer”. Thus, Johnson is trying to create the concept of winning a battle. It is well-known during battles people do their best and make use of everything available. So, the president is trying to activate his people. 

– “I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus”. (Speech 1)

– “But in this fight, we can be in no doubt that every one of us is directly enlisted.” (speech 1)

– “To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives”. (Speech 1)

– “The people of this country will rise to that challenge”. (Speech 1)

Again the same of a fight is repeated throughout the above lines. Johnson uses material (action) verbs like beat, protect, save and rise. All of these verbs are manipulated to convince and persuade people to try their part in society and defend their lives. So, it is a “challenge” and it is like an army and all people are “enlisted” and no one is excluded. Thus, doctors, workers, and nurses should take part to “beat the virus”.

– We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together. (Speech 1)

– And we will get through it. (Speech 2)

– And the way we’re going to get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you’ll have heard so much about. (Speech 2)

– our country will come through this epidemic. (Speech 2)

– we’re going to win, we’re going to beat it, and we’re going to beat it together. (Speech 2)

Johnson uses the verb“beat” twice in speech 1 to emphasize the idea of fighting and winning a war. Both verbs are preceded by the modal auxiliary “will”. It shows that Johnson is sure that his country will overcome any difficulties and the modal “will” encapsulates the idea of certainty and determination of an action or an event that is going to take place in future. The same idea is repeated in speech 2. Johnson uses the verb “beat” two twice preceded by the expression “going to” to depict futurity and to tell people to comply with the government measures to “win” and defeat coronavirus. The president also uses some synonyms like “get through” and “come through” which both expressions denote surviving one’s life and overcoming difficulties and challenges. Thus, coronavirus is a “killer” and “enemy” and it is ‘the national fight back’ and it is not a personal fight, but rather it is a country challenge.

Government Instructions

Both speeches are full of governmental roles and strategies followed to “win” the battle. 

– I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have. (Speech 1)

Johnson is saying that the British government has started applying an approach to stop the virus from spreading. The rest of the UK nations like Wales and Ireland are both applying the same way to stop the virus from spreading. He says that without a national effort, the country will not make it. If people don’t follow the government instructions, there will be no health services, ventilators, or care beds and the NHS will be unable to do it. 

– From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home. (Speech 1)

Thus, British people are not allowed to go out to save for some necessities. They should stay at home. Despite that, there are some exceptions that people should consider them:

–        “shopping for necessities, as infrequently as possible”. (Speech 1)

– “one form of exercise a day – for example, a runwalk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.” (speech 1)

– “any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and”(speech 1) 

–        “travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.” (speech 1)

All of the above lines show the governmental steps taken by the British Government to control the spread of the disease. Shopping and travelling are both prohibited and they can only be done when there are serious needs. Jobs and work are preferable to be done at home and people can go to their places of work only when it is highly necessary. 

– If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings. (Speech 1)

The above line shows that the government will take what is necessary to let people follow the instructions. The government will take steps like forcing people to comply, taking fines and breaking out gatherings. 

–        “Close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship”. (Speech 1) 

– “We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with”. (Speech 1) 

– “and we’ll stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.” (speech 1)

According to the above instructions, there are no exceptions. All people have to obey the rules. Thus, rules are rules. It is a national duty to keep in touch with the latest updates of coronavirus and not to break these instructions. 

– “And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review”.(speech 1)

The government will make an effort to lessen these restrictions when it is possible. People will indeed get harmed because of these steps but nothing like keeping someone’s life. The government has been thinking of “a huge and unprecedented programme” to support people who are affected by these temporary restrictions. 

–        “We are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.” (speech 1)

–        “We are increasing our stocks of equipment”. (Speech 1)

–        “We are accelerating our search for treatments”. (Speech 1)

–        “We are pioneering work on a vaccine”. (Speech 1)

–        “We are buying millions of testing kits”. (Speech 1)

The pronoun “we”, here stands for the government. Johnson is saying that the British government is providing hospitals with “equipment”. It is doing its best to develop a vaccine for coronavirus and it is giving people testing kits to make sure whether they develop the virus or not. Thus, the government is spending “millions” and it is “strengthening” the hospital and the treatment facilities. It is trying to get retired doctors back to help fight this virus. 

– “It was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the NHS”. (Speech 2)

– “But it’s not just the NHS, it’s our police, our social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools, DWP staff”. (Speech 2)

Thus, it is a national call to help NHS. The government is helping it but people are needed in this challenge. It is boosted that all the parts of British society are taking their places in serving their country and making it proper again. It is not only doctors but also teachers, workers, the police and the volunteers. 

Giving Advice 

 To achieve the goals said before, the British government gives some advice about handling coronavirus and protecting the country.

– “You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No”. (Speech 1)

– “You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home”. (Speech 1)

– “You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can“. (Speech 1)

Johnson is giving some recommendations with the modal auxiliary “should” to give the British people some advice. He states that visiting “should” take place under such circumstances. So, visiting friends is banned. People are allowed to go out just to buy some “essential” things like food and medicine. Thus, the above lines show that the president cares a lot about the lives of his people and he is thinking of himself as the “boss” of the current situation. 

– “I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives”.(speech 1)

– “ Stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.” (speech 2)

Thus, Boris Johnson is clarifying that it is the national situation and not a personal problem or something of the same sort. People should “stay at home” and do what they can as long as they can to “protect” their lives. 

– “The more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we’ll bounce back..” (speech 2)

Togetherness is a clear goal of Boris Johnson’s speech. He is saying that so long as we follow the measures and instructions given by the government and the specialists, we will make it and pass this difficult time. We will “bounce back” to our normal life. 

Concerning boosters, Boris Johnson uses different words to emphasize and strengthen the message and the meaning of some ideas and concepts. Boosters are used to add much weight to the concept.

– “All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer”. (Speech 1)

– “Close all shops selling non-essential goods”. (Speech 1)

– “We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public.” (speech 1)

– we’ll stop all social events. (Speech 1)

– “ to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.” (speech 2)

– “ And the more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we’ll bounce back.” (speech 2)

It is clear from the above lines that Johnson uses the booster “all” to emphasize and shed some light on the phenomena under consideration. In the first line, he uses ‘all’ the danger of this virus which has affected almost ‘all’ countries and also to raise the awareness of his audience. The rest of the lines employ the fact that there are no exceptions when it comes to governmental measures to put coronavirus under control. In the lines from the speech 2 ‘all’ shows that after being affected by the virus, Boris Johnson is still in touch with “all my team” to fight this pandemic. If we ‘all’ follow the instructions given by the government, we will ‘all’ get through this formidable test. 

– “ Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could cope.” (speech 1)

– “And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.” (speech 1)

– “And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.”

The booster ‘huge’ is used to convince the audience and add some kind of strong weight to the meaning. Thus, it is a ‘huge’ effort that people need to exert to overcome this difficult situation. People are following the instructions put the government and as a government, we have provided our country with a ‘huge ’ programme to cope with the situation. 

– “If too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it.” (speech 1)

The booster ‘too’ is used to emphasize the number given by Johnson and also to add some weight to the meaning of the sentence. Thus, if ‘too’ many people develop the coronavirus, there will be no possibility of handling the situation. And ‘too’ is used to draw peoples’ attention to the seriousness of the episode. 

– “We can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.” (speech 1)

If we follow the instructions, we can save ‘more’ people and get back to our normal life.

– “ From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.” (speech 1)

– “ Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.” (speech 1)

– “That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes.” (speech 1)

– It was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the NHS.(speech 2)The modal auxiliary ‘must’ is used to show determination, obligation and necessity. It increases the force of the meaning and strengthens its effect on the audience. The booster ‘very’ is used to magnify the meaning of the proposition. In the first sentence, ‘very’ is used to emphasize the simplification of the purposes. In the second example, it is used to raise the emotional side of the audience to applause and support all staff working in the NHS.

– The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost. (Speech 1)

– “To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.” (speech 1)

It is clear that ‘many ’ people will be dead if they don’t follow the instructions and the safety steps. However, “many many” lives can be saved if they do what they have to do and stay home. Thus, ‘many’ increases the number of the utterance.

– “ But in this fight, we can be in no doubt that every one of us is directly enlisted.” (speech 1)

– “And I know that as they have in the past so many times.” (speech 1)

Johnson uses the booster adverb ‘directly’ to show that all people are equal under such circumstances. They all should take part in this fight to win. The booster ‘so’ is used to emphasize the meaning of the sentence. British people went through difficult situations throughout history and they made it and so we will.

– “ So I am working from home. I’m self-isolating. And that’s entirely the right thing to do.” (speech 2)

– “ 600,000 people have volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus.” (speech 2)

– “And the way we’re going to get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you’ll have heard so much about.” (speech 2)

Johnson uses the adverb ‘entirely’ to add weight to the meaning which is required in these situations. Thus, it is ‘right’ to isolate yourself and stay at home. ‘Great’ is used to increase the force or effect of words on the hearers. So, it is a national call to do much and obey. The expression ‘of course’ indicates the certainty of the words spoken and ‘so’ magnifies the importance of following the medical instructions.


Both speeches have been analyzed critically depending on two different techniques. From the discussions, above the following conclusions have been arrived at. Lexicalization and booster are both powerful tools used in doing discourse analysis and special CDA. Generally speaking, political discourse is inevitably consumed seriously by addressees. When coronavirus epidemically invaded the world, world leaders, including presidents and PMs, got ready to defend this disease. So, Boris Johnson takes the responsibility to fight the battle against this enemy.

Boris Johnson tries his best to convince his people of the danger of the situation they are going through and they have to “fight” side to side to defeat the “enemy”. Boris Johnson uses different lexical items to stress different concepts in varied ways. Data analysis shows how broad concepts such as ‘winning the fight’, ‘giving instructions’ and ‘giving advice’ are reflected through using lexicalization. In his speech, the speaker deploys different types of wordings and lexicalized items either to intensify, magnify or diminish and minify these concepts. Hence, different wordings such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs are used to serve this purpose. In addition, different kinds of boosters are utilised to emphasize, and strengthen the meaning of some ideas and to add much weight to the concept of danger represented by coronavirus. He uses this device to increase the level or the degree of the meaning and to maximize its impact on the audience. Finally, British PM Johnson succeeded in begging his citizens to comply with his government’s instructions.


The study suggests:

  1. Lexicalization and wording should be used in all formal messages and addresses.
  2. In urgent situations such as pandemic diseases, magnifying meaning and a sense of warning need lexicalized items since they have similar concepts in the lexeme of human beings.
  3. For full comprehension of political discourse, critical discourse analysts need to take lexicalization in consideration.


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From:Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson

Published 23 March 2020

Speech 1

Good Evening,

The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.

All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.

And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.

Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.

So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.

Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.

And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.

And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.

Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

  • close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
  • we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
  • and we’ll stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.

And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.

Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.

With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment.

We are accelerating our search for treatments.

We are pioneering work on a vaccine.

And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.

I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.

Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.

But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted.

Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together.

To halt the spread of this disease.

To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.

And I know that as they have in the past so many times.

The people of this country will rise to that challenge.

And we will come through it stronger than ever.

We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.

And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

Thank you.

Speech 2

It may seem a bit premature to make a speech now about Britain after Covid

when that deceptively nasty disease is still rampant in other countries

when global case numbers are growing fast

and when many in this country are nervous – rightly – about more outbreaks

whether national or local

like the flare-up in Leicester

whereas I promised we are putting on the brakes and I thank the people of Leicester for their forbearance

and yet we cannot continue simply to be prisoners of this crisis

We are preparing now slowly and cautiously to come out of hibernation

and I believe it is absolutely vital for us now to set out the way ahead

so that everyone can think and plan for the future – short, medium and long term

because if the covid crisis has taught us one thing it is that this country needs to be ready for what may be coming

and we need to be able to move with levels of energy and speed

that we have not needed for generations

And I know that there are plenty of things that people say and will say that we got wrong

and we owe that discussion and that honesty to the tens of thousands who have died before their time

to the families who have lost loved ones

and of course there must be time to learn the lessons, and we will

but I also know that some things went right

But as we approach July 4 I am afraid that the dangers – as we can see in Leicester – have not gone away

the virus is out there

still circling like a shark in the water

and it will take all our collective discipline and resolve to keep that virus at bay

and if we can and get on to the next phase of recovery then we can get on all the faster to the next phase

and to the delivery of our plan

This is a government that is wholly committed not just to defeating coronavirus

but to using this crisis finally to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges of the last three decades

to build the homes

to fix the NHS

to solve social care

to tackle the skills crisis

to mend the indefensible gap in opportunity and productivity and connectivity between the regions of the UK

to unite and level up

and to that end we will build, build, build

build back better build back greener build back faster

and to do that at the pace that this moment requires

we need now to distil the very best of the psychic energy of the last few months

let’s take the zap and élan of the armed services who helped to build the Nightingales

let’s take the selflessness and the love of the health and the care workers and the charities

the public spirit and the good humour of the entire population

and let’s brew them together with the superhuman energy of Captain Tom

bounding around his garden at the age of 100 and raising millions for charity

let’s take that combination, that spirit bottle it, swig it

and I believe we will have found if not quite a magic potion, at least the right formula to get us through these dark times

And I must stress that there will still be some tough times ahead

and to work this whole plan through will take effort, and nerve, and patience

and no we won’t get everything right

we certainly won’t get everything right first time

but this is the moment to be ambitious

to believe in Britain

to rise to the scale of the challenge and the opportunity

If we deliver this plan together

then we will together build our way back to health

We will not just bounce back

We will bounce forward – stronger and better and more united than ever before.

Thank you all very much.

Published 30 June 2020

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