Publication details [#58230]

Publication type
Article in book
Publication language


A too narrow interpretation of rituality as a quite particular and formalised (visible) element of language use, fails to seize rituals’ intricate interactional and relational (often hidden) functions. It is apt to develop a theoretical/technical (second-order) interpretation that is wide enough to harbor diverse second-order models based upon various (first-order etic) expectations. It is crucial to situate relational rituals within the field of recurrent language usage (as formalised, conventionalised and recurrent relationship forcing acts). Rituals have some uniform key formal and functional features, and the speech acts of social ritual are governed by sufficiently strict formation and/or sequencing principles, such as turn-by-turn ‘activation’. The discursive interpretation of rituals requires an alternative categorisation of rituality types and some of the most representative are reviewed. Compulsive and imaginary rituals are codified in the closed and sacred individual world, and stigmatised as ‘abnormal’ linguistic behavior, in contrast to personal relational (overt) rituals. In-group and social rituals make up different types. Rituals are often unmarked as background relational modes, yet can become marked at any time.