Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8722
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8730
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Obituaries are a tractable source of metaphorical depictions of death, which in turn offer unique insights into the near-universality versus culture and context-specificity of metaphors. In multicultural settings, they can shed further light on the underexplored question of how metaphor use interacts with linguistic and religious identities. This paper is a case study of newspaper obituaries ( = 337) in the multicultural and multilingual context of Singapore. It uses a mixed-methods approach to uncover the types of death-related metaphors across languages and religions, their near-universal and culture-specific aspects, and significant associations between religion and metaphor use/non-use (² (2,  = 337) = 84.54,  < 0.001, Cramer’s  = 0.501, Log (BF) = 47.14), language and metaphor use/non-use (² (1,  = 337) = 71.2,  < 0.001, Cramer’s  = 0.46, Log (BF) = 42.25), and religion and language of the deceased (² (2,  = 337) = 48.11,  < 0.001, Cramer’s  = 0.378, Log (BF) = 19.7). The findings extend prevailing discussion from the substantive contents of metaphors to the intra-societal pragmatics of their use, connecting metaphor explicitly with the construction of religious and linguistic identities.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): death; identity construction; metaphor; obituaries; religion
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