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A Transitivity Analysis of Speech Act of Condolence: An SFL Perspective

Dr. Laya Heidari Darani

 Falavarjan Branch, Islamic Azad University

 

Condolence is part of Austin’s expressive speech act and is related to Searle’s behabitives illocutionary act. Although it is regarded as a theoretically sound issue in pragmatics, condolence speech act has not been investigated as much as other speech acts in discourse-related studies. Thus, drawing on Halliday’s transitivity framework rooted in Systemic Functional Linguistics, this paper aims at exploring the realization of condolence through the process types (material, mental, verbal, existential, relational, and behavioral) which are part of the ideational function. To this end, the verbal phrases of 150 English condolence messages sent through emails were analyzed. Chi-square analysis was run on the data and the results indicated that the mental process was the most frequent one followed by the existential, verbal, and relational processes. The main conclusion drawn is that to express condolence on someone' passing, affection, among other feelings, comes first to be expressed through mental processes. The person's loss, expression of grief due to his loss, and the type of relations the figure had with others are declared after the expression of affection. Moreover, material and behavioral processes play no role in expression of condolence.

The above abstract is part  of the article which was accepted at The Second National Conference on English Studies and Linguistics (WWW.ELTL.IR) , 4-5 February 2016 , Iran-Ahwaz.