Speech Play and Verbal Art
This class deals with speech play, poetics, and verbal art from a linguistic and anthropological point of view. The speech types involved typically include punning, joking, play languages, proverbs, riddles, verbal dueling, narrative, myth, song, poetry, and ritual and theatrical performance; they employ such formal features as parallelism, rhyme, alliteration, meter, prosodic distortion, and versification; and they draw on such literary tropes as iconicity, imagery, metaphor, metonymy, and quotation. The view is taken that these elements and structures of artful or special language production are characteristic of all speech, including even conversation and expository prose; and that their study in heightened, artistic or playful contexts provides a grounding framework for any linguistic or anthropological approach to both form and content in naturally-occurring speech activity.
The class will have an analytic, empirical orientation. Issues of transcription, written representation, and translation will be addressed. The approach will be cross- cultural and ethnographic in orientation.