Semantically Redundant Language--A Case Study

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In this article, I discuss the concept of semantically redundant language through a case study of the Te Rauparaha Maori haka. I suggest that current linguistic theories cannot give a full account of ritualized speech events, of which the haka is an example, as these theories are based on a traditional dyadic model of interaction involving a specific addresser and addressee. I describe the speech event from the perspective of Speech Act Theory and show how the existence of the locution, illocution, and perlocution of an utterance in certain social contexts becomes unclear. In ritualized speech events, non-verbal elements of communication are more important than linguistic meaning. Linguistic meaning is downgraded in terms of value, in that what is said and the words of the utterance are less important than the fact that they have been uttered and the manner in which they have been delivered. I call this kind of language ‘semantically redundant language’ and suggest that there are varying degrees of this dependent on the social context within which an utterance is performed. Thus, semantic redundancy is greater in highly formalized, ritual scenarios, and less obvious in ‘normal’ dyadic interaction.

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... It is based on the premise that the problematisation of another agent's 'face' is cognitively more demanding than mere 2 It is acknowledged that redundant language is of prime importance in an analysis of the performance of speech events and social awareness of ritualised behaviour (cf. Rizza 2009) are characterised by the awareness that one's individual desires may be a possible threat for one's own and others' face needs (e.g. Brown & Levinson 1987;Yu 1997). The social clash between interested 'language-for action' and the awareness of Ad/r's face is the dimension where ToM comes into play as a gradient mechanism of 'codified awareness of the other(s)'. ...
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This article applies conversation analysis to classroom talk-in-interaction where pupils respond to poetry they have heard. The phenomenon of repeating in discussion details from the poem, including patterns of delivery, is considered and named echo to distinguish it from quotation in writing. The phenomenon is significant to the pedagogy of literary study given the existing tacit and unexamined assumption that when pupils repeat textual details verbally this has equivalence with quotation in writing. Three episodes drawn from a single sequence of classroom interaction are presented together with a transcript of the stimulus heard poem. Each is accompanied by an interpretive commentary. It appears that echo in classroom discussions of poetry performs actions distinct from quotation in writing, for example that the acts of presenting and analysing textual detail occur simultaneously. The innovation of the research lies in the inclusion of the transcript-rendered poem as a turn in the sequence of interaction: as a verbally oriented method, conversation analysis provides an apt means of rendering response to poetry presented in the oral mode. More broadly, the discussion is consistent with the emergent popularity of conversation analysis as a method for considering classroom interactions with a view to reflecting on subtle aspects of learning.
The Sinhalese exorcism rituals are perhaps the most complex and the most magnificent in performance still extant. For this second edition, the author has written a new preface and introduction in which he argues that the techniques of healing in Sri Lanka and the aesthetics of this healing cannot be reduced to Western psychoanalytic or psychotherapeutic terms, and develops new and original approaches to ritual and the aesthetic in general.
This book offers a new approach towards the definition and understanding of magic. Basing the analysis in the Indian city of Banaras, where magic is a familiar part of everyday life, it reviews the major theories that have explained (or explained away) magic over the last century. It argues that all of these theories leave out something critical, namely what it calls "magical consciousness"-a special state of awareness of magicians and their clients which, though extraordinary, is also perfectly natural.
Sometimes we mean something by our utterances, sometimes we do not. If Jennifer responds to the question “How is the weather in Helsinki?” by answering “It is snowing” she means by her utterance that it is snowing in Helsinki. If she utters the same sentence in order to practice pronunciation, then she means nothing. What is the reason for that difference?1
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