Colombian expressions of condolence on Facebook during the COVID-19 crisis


  • Tania Gomez College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University



Condolences, bereaved, deceased, personal deixis, emojis


The present research is an examination of 245 responses to three death notice posts published on Facebook. The respondents, all friends of whom published the posts, had no other choice in acting upon the news given the gathering restrictions created by COVID-19 (April 2020-November 2021). First, I examine the personal deixis (e.g., to whom the message is oriented towards) through the close examination of pronouns in the expressions of condolences. Results reveal that to maintain the social relationships, the respondents preferred to orient their message of condolence towards the bereaved or the family followed by orienting the condolence towards both the bereaved and the deceased. In Spanish, orienting the message toward the self (i.e., I am sorry) is the least preferred response. Behavioral cultural expectations also suggests that to demonstrate empathy, Colombian Spanish speakers tend to offer condolences in the form of routine formulas—focused on religious sayings, or expressions that reveal signs of affection. In managing the respect component, the respondents tend to praise God for mercy and strength for the bereaved/family and prayed for the deceased’s soul. In addition, it was noted that the responses included emojis (18.8%) which were used to upgrade and strengthen the force of the expressions of condolence. Although, the results cannot be generalized to the entire Colombian population, this study serves as the base to understand how Spanish speakers respond to condolences, a topic scarcely investigated.


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How to Cite

Gomez, T. (2023). Colombian expressions of condolence on Facebook during the COVID-19 crisis. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 12(2), 315–341.