HomeTin-awvol. 1 no. 1 (2017)

The Realities of Suicide Notes via Linguistic Lens

Danilo G. Baradillo



There are people who chose to leave this world before their time. They were convinced that life had very little to look forward to and decided to put an end to their miseries. However, they did leave behind their last words, addressed to their loved ones, muses, friends and the world in notes, scribbles and letters, penned down in their last hours. This forensic linguistic study made use of corpus-based approach and content-based analysis dealt with the syntactic structure of the 30 suicide notes sourced out from the written police report on suicidal incidents and from online sources. It further investigated on their lexis and semantics and their authenticity through Fraud Theory. The study identified the general structure of the suicide notes using the syntactic theory of Andrew Radford. It was found out that the general syntactic structures of the suicide notes were headedness principle, binarity principle, immediate/intermediate projection principle, extended projection principle, clauses containing complementizer, and null subject or constituents. The corpora contained also a unique syntactic feature which was the presence of a politeness marker po. Results revealed that the lexis found in the said corpora were all content words while the semantics dwelt with the following category: grammatical bin, existing, likely, discourse bin, getting and possession, knowledgeable speech acts, and alive. In terms of determining the authenticity of the suicide notes, the elements like pressure, opportunity and realization were considered. Results revealed that the corpora used in the study were authentic the fact that there was the presence of the said three elements.