Ideational and Interpersonal Analyses of Obituary and in Memoriam Announcements in Nigerian Newspapers

Author: Oladejo, Tolulope Odunayo

Supervisors: Adeyemi Daramola and Segun Awonusi

The exploration of language use in Obituary and In Memoriam announcements provides some challenging but fresh insight into how language impacts our social and psychological situations in societies. The study aimed to describe how the language of Obituary and In Memoriam Announcements is structured to reveal the experiential and interpersonal meanings. The study investigated the mind frame of the announcers in Obituary announcements and how the reader’s behaviour is influenced through the use of language. The study employed the theoretical frameworks of Systemic Functional Theory (SFT), Appraisal Theory (AT), Generic Structure Potential (GSP) and Semiotic theory to analyze the data. The data for the study were selected from two Nigerian newspapers: The Guardian and The Nigerian Tribune within a particular year (2014) and from the months of June to December. The descriptive survey research was adopted to examine Obituary and In Memoriam announcements in Nigerian newspapers and a sample size of hundred (100) announcements were randomly selected from a total population of four hundred and twenty-eight (428) adverts on bereavements from the months of June to December 2014 in both The Guardian and The Nigerian Tribune. The study found that the announcements helped the readers to unravel and examine what flows through the minds of the writers and that contextual properties enhanced the communicative importance of the announcements by eliciting sympathy from the reading public. The findings of the study revealed that the announcements are concerned more with human emotions and behaviours. The study advanced knowledge by revealing that Obituary announcements expressed the feelings and grief of the announcers through the use of language. The study recommended that there is need to broaden research on how emotions of the bereaved can further be captured through the language use. The study concluded that language, culture and religion are inseparable in the Nigerian context.