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Introduction The tabooing of personal names is a frequent and rather salient phenomenon, showing up time and again in ethnographic descriptions. Taboos on saying the names of various categories of affinal kin are the most widespread, being very common in Melanesia (see Simons 1982 for a survey), Australia (e.g., Thomson 1946 on Wik Monkan), as well as diverse parts of Africa (e.g., Irvine 1998 on Zulu, Treis 2005 on Kambaata, Mbaya 2002 on Oromo). In much of South Asia, it is normatively expected that women shouldn't utter their husband's name (e.g., Trawick 1996:95 on Tamil). In the Americas, taboos on uttering the names of the dead are probably those which are the most elaborated (e.g., Elmendorf 1951 on Twana). Taboos on naming a big-man, chief, or king are also widely reported (e.g., Raum 1973 on Zulu, Frazer 1958 on Maori). Just as there is variability in whose name is tabooed cross-culturally, so too is there a lot of variation in beliefs about the consequences of producing a tabooed name from place to place. Some Tamil women believe that if they say their husband's name that "harm will befall him" (Trawick 1996:95). For a Kambaata speaking woman in Ethiopia, mistakenly saying the name of her father-in-law would count as an insult and a cause of shame (Treis 2005). Among the Haruai of Papua New Guinea, the use of a taboo name may make the speaker ill or lead to crop failure (Comrie 2000:80).

GENRE
Non-Fiction
RELEASED
2011
January 1
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
37
Pages
PUBLISHER
Institute for Ethnographic Research
SIZE
251.3
KB

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