[X] Anthropological Linguistics

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Vol. 49, nos. 3-4 (Fall/Winter 2007)


Contents

The Lingua Franca Cycle: Implications for Language Shift, Language Change, and Language Classification Robbins Burling 207

Musical, Poetic, and Linguistic Form in Tom Yaya Sung Narratives from Papua New Guinea Alan Rumsey 237

Negotiated Identities: The Evolution of Dene Tha and Kaska Personal Naming Systems Patrick Moore 283

Meaning and Time: Translation and Exegesis of a Mayan Myth Paul Kockelman 308

Eight Reinterpretations of Submerged Symbolism in the Mayan Popol Wuj Brian Stross 388

Book Reviews

A Huron-English/English-Huron Dictionary (Listing Both Words and Noun and Verb Roots) (John L. Steckley) Blair A. Rudes424
Areal Diffusion and Genetic Inheritance: Problems in Comparative Linguistics (Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon, editors) Claire Bowern 429
Language Classification by Numbers (April McMahon and Robert McMahon) Brett Kessler 435
Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration (Robert D. Greenberg) Donald L. Dyer 438
The Language of the Modhupur Mandi (Garo) Vol. 1: Grammar (Robbins Burling) and Le Deuri: Langue Tibéto-Birmane d’Assam (François Jacquesson) David Bradley 440
Ginuxsko-russkij slovar’ [Hinukh-Russian Dictionary] (M. S. Xalilov and I. A. Isakov) Maria Polinsky and Kirill Shklovsky 445
Publications Received 450

Abstracts

The Lingua Franca Cycle: Implications for Language Shift, Language Change, and Language Classification

Robbins Burling
University of Michigan

Abstract. Lingua francas, usually simple and often pidginized, are widespread and extremely useful wherever languages are many. Because they are spoken by people of varied language backgrounds and imperfect competence, lingua francas provide a means by which features of more than a single language can become mixed. Because they are both useful and relatively easy to learn, they tend to spread, and they provide a means by which extensive language shift can take place. They introduce abrupt discontinuities into language history, and they greatly complicate attempts at traditional language classification.

Musical, Poetic, and Linguistic Form in Tom Yaya Sung Narratives from Papua New Guinea

Alan Rumsey
Australian National University

Abstract. Tom yaya kange is a genre of metrical, sung narrative performed in the Ku Waru region of Highland Papua New Guinea. Describing and exemplifying two varieties of this genre, I show how the language used in them differs from ordinary spoken Ku Waru. The Ku Waru system of lexical tone is largely overridden by the tonal organization of the tom yaya melody, and there is a marked reduction in the length and complexity of maximal syntactic units so as to map them onto single isometric lines, greatly increasing the scope for poetic parallelism. Tom yaya kange are compared in these respects with genres of sung narrative from two other language areas within the New Guinea Highlands and with a range of musical genres from elsewhere in the world, and some conclusions are offered about possible interrelationships among their various linguistic, musical, and poetic features.

Negotiated Identities: The Evolution of Dene Tha and Kaska Personal Naming Systems

Patrick Moore
University of British Columbia

Abstract. Dene Tha and Kaska personal names reveal the rich cultural histories of these Canadian Athabaskan groups, while providing insights into their evolving language ideologies. Although Dene Thas and Kaskas speak closely related languages and share many cultural practices, subtle contrasts between their indigenous naming practices point to long-standing regional differences. Beginning in the nineteenth century, Euro-Canadian traders, missionaries, prospectors, and government agents compounded the diversity of local naming practices in each respective region by imposing their own naming systems in different ways. In recent decades, the policies of residential mission schools, language shift to English, and cultural revitalization associated with land claims have also influenced Kaska and Dene Tha naming practices. Among both groups, names are key symbols used to negotiate individual identities, and reveal how local indigenous language ideologies have evolved in response to wider social forces.

Meaning and Time: Translation and Exegesis of a Mayan Myth

Paul Kockelman
Barnard College, Columbia University

Abstract. A Q’eqchi’-Mayan myth, narrated in 1909, is translated and analyzed. This myth describes the elopement of B’alamq’e (the sun) with Po (the moon), the actions undertaken by Po’s father to punish the fugitives, and the repercussions of those events on the current world. In broad terms, it may be understood as a reflexive cosmogony—narrating events that take place in time, as undertaken by actors who are time, to explain the nature of time. Accordingly, the analysis focuses on grammatical categories, discourse patterns, cultural values, and social relations that shed light on Mayan understandings of temporality. Four interrelated ways of framing temporality are deployed: poetic meter, or the linear sequencing of tokens of a common type; the relation between speech event, narrated event, and reference event; the construal of local pasts and futures via performative acts in the present; and community-specific beliefs about time, or chronotopes.

Eight Reinterpretations of Submerged Symbolism in the Mayan Popol Wuj

Brian Stross
University of Texas at Austin

Abstract. Eight reinterpretations of words and episodes in the K’iche’ Maya book of creation are offered, adding to our understanding of the meanings of that rich text. The methodologies of linguistic comparison, analysis of narrative structure, comparative mythology, and ethnographic analogy are employed. Although much remains hidden from our gaze in the Popol Wuj, it is clear that the life cycle of maize is encoded through multiple metaphors in that document, only some of which have previously been recognized. Comparative insights that are helpful in revealing some of the Popol Wuj’s hidden meanings can be found not only within Mayan, but also in Mije-Sokean and other non-Mayan languages.


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