Departmental Bulletin Paper Small Words - Big Issues : The Anthropological Relevance of Khoesan Interjections (Natural History of Communication among the Central Kalahari San)

WIDLOK, Thomas

52pp.135 - 145 , 2016-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Interjections are ubiquitous in most languages but they have for long been neglected by linguists. To anthropologists they are of particular relevance because they shift our attention from â sentencesâ (as abstract units found in grammars) to â utterancesâ (that is, real world units) which are indexical since they can only to be understood in the context of speech events. As bridges between language and the lived world they often transport emotive contents and a sense of what the speaker feels. As I will show with examples from the Ç Akhoe HaiÇ om corpus, interjections have to be learned from communicative interaction and they are rich entry points into what Sugawara has defined as the point of departure for anthropological research, namely â embodied experienceâ .

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