Rhetorical Moves in an Occluded Genre: A Qualitative Analysis of Suicide Notes

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  • The purpose of this study is to investigate suicide notes from the perspective of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) (Bhatia, 1993, 2004; Swales, 1990) genre approach. Specifically, the study examines the communicative purpose(s) and the rhetorical move/step structure (Swales, 1990) in a corpus of suicide notes. Eighty-six suicide notes (Leenaars, 1988; Shneidman & Farberow, 1957) were analyzed using the rhetorical move/step analysis (Swales, 1990). The findings suggest that suicide notes share common communicative purposes and rhetorical move/step structure, and, therefore, constitute a genre from the ESP perspective. By establishing the rhetorical move structure of suicide notes, this study addresses the lack of genre-based studies of suicide notes in the literature and makes a theoretically-based contribution to the fields of genre studies and, potentially, forensic linguistics. Keywords: Suicide notes, ESP, genre, rhetorical move/step analysis

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  • Copyright © 2015 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2015


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