“The Language of Gods”: The Pragmatics of Bilingual Parallelism in Ritual Ch’orti’ Maya Discourse

In this study I investigate the discursive function of parallelism in the ritual speech of Ch’orti’ Maya. Specifically, I examine the exploitation of the dual lexicons of Ch’orti’ Mayan and Spanish in the production of parallel structures. Ch’orti’ ritual speech is almost universally constructed in parallelistic fashion, accomplishing at once a near hypnotic cadence when […]

“Word upon a Word”: Parallelism, Meaning, and Emergent Structure in Kalevala-meter Poetry

This essay treats parallelism as a means for articulating and communicating meaning in performance. Rather than a merely stylistic and structural marker, parallelism is discussed as an expressive and cognitive strategy for the elaboration of notions and cognitive categories that are vital in the culture and central for the individual performers. The essay is based […]

Remembering and Recreating Origins: The Transformation of a Tradition of Canonical Parallelism among the Rotenese of Eastern Indonesia

This paper examines and illustrates key oral traditions of canonical parallelism among the Rotenese of eastern Indonesia. The Rotenese are concerned with maintaining a knowledge of origins and the poets who perpetuate this knowledge are known for their ability to recount long chants that reveal these origins. On Rote, a traditional ritual canon of origins […]