Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 11 November 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.



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Lexis of a Suicidal

Samina A. Khan, M.Phil.


This article presents a lexical analysis of the writings of a suicidal individual to identify the linguistic choices. It also discusses content analysis as a valuable research tool.


Language is not only the source of sharing our beliefs, ideas and desires with others but it also reflects our unconscious. As fingerprints provide evidence in detecting law related issues, for linguists, linguistic style is a fingerprint through which a person's mental state is reflected.

The words that reflect linguistic styles are those that are high in usage e.g. function words- particles, articles, prepositions, pronouns, auxiliary verbs and conjunctions. According to Pennebaker (2002), the particular words a person uses (e.g. pronouns, emotion-related words, cognitive words or time-oriented words) reveal rich information about his/her mood, social class, personality, and status.


The role of function words is evident by an understanding of pronouns. Pronouns require shared understanding of their referents between the listener and speaker, e.g. "Does he know that it is her bag?" This sentence can only be meaningful if one knows who "he", "it" and "her" are. In order to understand a message with plenty of pronouns we need social knowledge.

Similar is the case with articles and prepositions, e.g.

It is unbelievable that he presented her a car.
It is unbelievable that he presented her the car.

Though both the sentences are the same with the exception of the articles "a" and "the," the differences in listener's/reader's and speaker's shared knowledge and interpersonal skills is evident. Thus, mature social skills are required to use function words.

The ways people refer to themselves and others is highly reflective of their mental state. The use of 1st person singular (I, me, my) versus 1st person plural (we, us, our) provides insight into one's social identity and "ownership" of their speaking or writing topic; references to other people suggests an awareness and integration with others (Argamon & Levitan, 2004; Argamon, Koppel & Schler 2005).

Farberow & Marmor (1996), and Prezant & Neimeyer (1988) suggest that suicidal individuals withdraw from social relationships, and while they try to detach from the sources of their pain, become more self-absorbed.

Suicidal Individuals and Language

Emotion Words

Languages differ in the size and range of their emotion vocabularies. Study on emotion lexicons show different number of emotion words in different languages. Russell (1991) reported 2000 emotion words in English (Wallace & Carson, 1973), 1501 in Dutch (Hoekstra, 1986), and 750 emotion words in Taiwanese Chinese (Boucher, 1979). According to Church and associates (1998), in Tagalog (Filipino) there are 256 emotion words. This type of study requires careful specification of what constitutes an emotion word (Clore, et al., 1987).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Implementing Explicit Grammatical Instruction in Thailand Schools | Nature of Sentence Intonation in Kannada, Tulu and Konkani | Language and Gender - Linguistic Analysis of Intermediate English Textbooks in Pakistan | Development of Punjabi-Hindi Aligned Parallel Corpus from Web Using Machine Translation | Paralinguistic and Non-Verbal Props in Second-Language Use: A Study of Icheoku and Masquerade in Nigeria | Economic Perspectives and Life-style Characteristics of the Aged Population in Tamil Nadu, India | Redefining Secularism - An Analysis of John Updike's Terrorist and Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist as Post-9/11 Novels | Reduplication in Bengali Language | Development of Time-Compressed Speech Test for Children between 8 - 12 Years of Age in Telugu | Bridging the Gap - The Potential of Contrastive Rhetoric in Teaching L2 Writing | ELT in Yemen and India - The Need for Remedial Measures | Relationship between Multiple Intelligence Categories and Learning Styles of Students in Pakistan | Internet as an Educational Resource in Vocabulary Instruction | The Effectiveness of Technology in Teaching Study Skills | A Study of the Comparative Elements in the Poetry of Keats and Ghani Khan | Sentence Pattern Method - A New Approach for Teaching Spoken English for Tamil/Indian/EFL Learners | Enhancing Language Skills Using Learn to Speak English Software in Engineering Students of Andhra Pradesh | Problems in Teaching of English Language at the Primary Level in District Kohat, NWFP, Pakistan | An Appraisal of the Practicum - Finding the Gaps between Theory and Practice in Teacher Training Institutions in Pakistan | A Study of B.Ed. Students' Attitude Towards Using Internet in Vellore District, Tamilnadu, India, Masters Dissertation | Politics of Sambalpuri or Kosali as a Dialect of Oriya in Orissa | A Six-Step Approach to Teaching Poetry Incorporating the Four Skills | Lexis of a Suicidal | A Case Review of Tamil Diglossia | Comparison of Markedness of Lexical Semantic Abilities in Normal Children and Children with Hearing Impairment | Social Effects and Other Impediments in Teaching Literature | Aligning the Connotations of Love and Freedom in the Novels of Iris Murdoch | Spiritual Communication and Managerial Effectiveness | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF NOVEMBER, 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT. | HOME PAGE of November 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Samina A. Khan, M.Phil.
Department of English & Applied Linguistics
University of Management and Technology
Johar Town

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