On the Deat of Princess Diana

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Princess Diana died on a car crash on 31st August 1997 in Paris. The Queen Elizabeth II, on 5th September 1997 uttered a pubblic speech to pay tribute to Diana's death from the Chinese Dining Room at Buckingham Palace.


According to Gragory's and Carol's model this is a non-spontaneous speech, written to be spoken and intended to be heard as a real speech. Moreover, according to Halliday's model we can identify the following features: mode (the kind of role the language plays, its function in the particular context, the channel used, spoken or written, and also its achievements, if it is persuasive, expository, didactic speech etc.), field (the purposeful activity involved, what kind of social action is actually happening, what the participant are engaged in), tenor (who the participants are, their roles and what their social relationships are). The controlled variables are

MODE: the language is spoken. It is produced via the oral channel and it is intended to be processed by the ear. Ther is no visual contact between the speaker and her immediate audience because the Queen is talking directly to the video camera but there is visual contact between the audience and the Queen. The speech has been prepared in advance and has its origins in some form of writing: scripted speech. The comunication is enterely one-way.

The audience has virtually no share in text creation being limited, at least, to non-verbal signals such as applauses. FIELD: the purposeful activity involved is the exposition of funeral oration uttered by the Queen the 5th September 1997 at 6 pm, live from the Chinese Dining Room at Bukingham Palace, screened by BBC1. The setting thus is Bukingham Palace.

TENOR: the speaker is the Queen Elizabeth II. During her speech she tries to create a rapport with her audience, to establish herself as a leader who inspires confidence. Her speech is intended to encourage her audience to pay tribute to Diana's death. The target of the audience includes all kind of people. The Queen wants to address her speech to everyone.


Hymes has identified 16 components of speech act:
MESSAGE FORM: the speech is non-spontaneous, written to be spoken as if not written, thus intended to be hear; MESSAGE CONTENT: funeral eulogy;
SETTING: 6 pm, Friday 5th September 1997, at Chinese Dining Room at Bukingham Palace; SPEAKER-ADDRESSOR: the Queen Elizabeth II;
HEARER-ADDRESSEE: the audience;
PURPOSES-OUTCOMES-GOALS: to pay tribute to Diana's death; KEY: the speech is very solemn;
CHANNEL: the speech is written to be spoken and it is realised through the medium of BBC1 television; FORMS OF SPEECH: she uses a lot of adjectives to describe lady Diana's person; NORMS OF INTERACTION AND INTERPRETATION: she organised the speech in blocks: the introduction, the central block where she describes Diana's qualities and the conclusion; GENRE: oration, funeral eulogy.


TENOR: the immediate perticipants are the Queen (the speaker) and the audience, all the poeple attending to her speech.


The speech was made on 5th September, 1997. BBC1 channel had screened it live form Bukingham Palace. It lasted almost 3'00'' and it is formed by 417 words. The Queen's purpose is to pay tribute to Diana's death.

She adopted a range of rhetorical devices and strategies in order to catch her audience attention. For example she focused a particular point using a series of specific components: FOUR-PART-LIST:

disbelief, incomprehension, anger, concern
my family and Prince Charles and William and Harry
energy, commitment and devotion
brought flowers, sent messages and paid your respect
exceptional and gifted
good times and bad
smile and laugh
warmth and kindness...
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