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If Cemeteries Could Talk ... A Discourse-Analytical Analysis of Epitaphs

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Death discourse provides interesting material to determine how societies and cultures cope with death and the sorrow of losing a beloved one. Several aspects can be analysed: content, language, design etc.This paper describes a diachronic bottom-up analysis of the metaphorical language in 150 epitaphs from Belgian cemeteries. The analysis allows us to determine if attitudes towards death and the taboo to talk directly about it have changed. Based on existing frameworks thirteen recurring metaphors were identified and analysed. Their occurrences are linked to the period in which they were written, and the age and the gender of the deceased.Epitaphs are a stable genre on all levels of analysis. The results indicate that people are still reluctant to talk in a straightforward way about death since metaphors with positive connotations prevail.
Journal: Omega: Journal of Death and Dying
ISSN: 0030-2228
Issue: epub ahead of print
Volume: 83
Pages: 1 - 14
Accessibility:Closed