linguistic autopsy according to lorna israel

Lorna Israel is postmodern.

In one of our interesting conversations over Facebook. She mentioned her new discovery. She was reading Ilustrado by Miguel Sycujo when she encountered the word “autopsy”. She researched the term even though she knows what it means but she wanted to understand what it meant. She reread Ilustrado and captured and coined a new term, linguistic  autopsy.

I asked her, not in verbatim: “When you say linguistic autopsy, does it mean the language is dead or you simply study a language by adopting the process of autopsy?” Autopsy as the process. She said it was the process. She mentioned a line in the novel, “we have an ‘unlived life’ and life worth writing”. In a regular autopsy, it establishes the cause of death, in this case, she wanted to establish the cause of life. Life she said as it “enfolds in words, jokes, rumors”. She also said that we do linguistic autopsy when we speculate, similar to gossip, about major events in life. We make it alive because we laugh at it, we never stop gossiping about it. It is the cause of life because of this process, we keep an issue alive.

After that very brief conversation. We both agreed that Facebook is one of the biggest source of linguistic autopsy. All words that makes an event, emotions alive is present in that seemingly ‘innocent’ social networking sites. Then, the professor that she is, she told me “go live, love, laugh – for you will be remembered that way in death”, quoting a line in Shutter Island.


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