Publication details [#67402]

Salmani Nodoushan, Mohammad Ali. 2013. The social semiotics of funerary rites in Iran. International Journal of Language Studies 7 (1) : 79–102.
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Article in journal
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Speech acts find occasion in two different contexts: (a) interpersonal, and (b) social. While the aim of speech acts produced in the former context is to create a communicative effect, the speech acts produced in the latter context aim at creating a social effect. Drawing on social semiotics and language philosophy, this paper tackles the social process of meaning making by addressing funerary rites and rituals in the Shiite population of Iran, and by classifying the speech acts produced in such rites into three classes of speech: (a) language addressed to Allah, (b) language addressed to the deceased, and (c) language addressed to the grieved relatives of the deceased. Samples of speech from each of these situations are provided and analyzed within the framework of conventional speech acts and pragmemes. It is concluded that funerary rites function on two planes: (a) the psychological plane that aims at providing solace for the grieved relatives of the deceased, and (b) the social plane that aims at enhancing collective social intentionality; funerary speech aims at soothing the grieved and consolidating social aspects of humanity.