Death announcements are presumed to provide a socio-cultural icon for examining the society’s collective attitude towards death and dying. The present study attempts to investigate the death announcement genre in Ghana from a sociolinguistic viewpoint in order to highlight the underpinning sociocultural perspectives. To accomplish this task, the study deployed both qualitative and quantitative content analysis of a data set of 636 death announcements from three leading public newspapers in Ghana. The analysis revealed that the DAs do more than just announce deaths. In general, age, gender, and status influence the construction of DAs in a number of ways to reflect the socio-cultural norms, beliefs, and practices of Ghanaians. In Ghana, DAs constitute a system of verbal and non-verbal signs which communicate important social, cultural, and religious elements that shape the worldview about the living and the dead. The findings of this study contribute to the scholarship on the socio-cultural perspectives on death announcements and other related funeral genres and have implications for the practice of writing DAs, and further research.
Keywords: culture, death announcements, Ghana, newspapers, sociolinguistics.