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Broken words, furious wasps. How should we translate the sonic materiality of Arawete ritual singing?

Heurich, GO; (2020) Broken words, furious wasps. How should we translate the sonic materiality of Arawete ritual singing? Journal de la Societe des Americanistes , 106 (1) pp. 105-126. 10.4000/JSA.18302. Green open access

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Abstract

In Arawete ritual singing, the performance of oporahe songs is an exercise in downplaying referential meaning without the actual removal of the sounds of the language. These songs are performed in a way that effectively break words into syllables, which are recombined to form unusual and "meaningless" words. Phrased differently, a good amount of these songs' "meaning" is not in the things to which they are referring. By looking at the effect of this displacement of syllables in the performance and in the written rendering of the Arawete's oporahe songs, this paper addresses the role of translation in anthropological practice when referential meaning is not easy to access. Following recent approaches in linguistic anthropology, the paper argues that an attention to the materiality of sound and voice in Arawete ritual singing provides a framework for understanding the performance and translation of songs in indigenous Amazonia.

Type: Article
Title: Broken words, furious wasps. How should we translate the sonic materiality of Arawete ritual singing?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4000/JSA.18302
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4000/jsa.18302
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Voice, materiality, ritual singing, linguistic anthropology, Araweté, Amazonia, Brazil
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125789
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