The structure of death announcements: Looking on the bright side of death

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Abstract

This is an analysis of death announcements in ordinary conversation. It appears that the sequential pattern of death announcements is surprisingly uniform: the examples in this corpus can be described in terms of a number of segments through which one speaker announces a death and the news is evaluated. These evaluations of the news frequently become increasingly positive ending in a ‘bright side sequence’ in which the speakers take an overtly positive stance to the news. Thus, although the death announcement may be explicitly introduced and/or receipted as bad news in the first instance, further on in the topic the speakers collaborate in ‘looking on the bright side. The bright side sequence in the examples is followed by, and seems to help facilitate, topic closure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-212
Number of pages24
JournalText
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1993

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