Analysing discourse of death rationalisation/legitimation, closure and continuity among the Meru
Keywords:applied linguistics, bereavement, cultural beliefs, death, rationalisation
This study sought to analyse the discourse of death rationalisation/legitimation, closure and continuity among the Meru. The study adopted mainly an auto-ethnographic descriptive research design guided by Silverman’s language of grief model underpinned by four modes of expression and four strands of language and Lakoff and Johnson’s Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Data were generated from a purposive sample of 48 Informants and 24 burial occasions drawn from Meru's Tigania, Imenti and Tharaka regions. The main instruments of data collection were face-to-face interviews, participant observations, and diary notes. This study found that Meru rationalises death in various ways. These ways do not follow any specific pattern but are common and include disbelief, acceptance, cleansing ceremony, burning/casting away items of the deceased, renaming/remarrying and seeking/accepting support. The findings of the study are expected to benefit scholars in Applied Linguistics with respect to bereavement and grief discourse, policymakers with respect to the language of dealing with public burial rites and the general public with respect to appreciating how the Meru deal with death, bereavement and grief. The study recommends that professionals advise the males also to express the feeling of loss freely so that they do not experience negative psychological effects for restraining themselves due to cultural norms.
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