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Unformatted text preview: rm of distress (see also Ochs
1988:173). This other use of the expression talofa is found in the following
excerpt from the same transcript, where a member of the inspection committee invites the others to feel sorry for the old woman Litia, who got up
at dawn in order to clean her lawn in time for the committee's inspection.
As shown by the following comment by Chief S, Tula'i's sympathy is not
shared by everyone else. In the next turn, Chief S proposes, albeit with some
hesitation, to fine Litia.
(2) [Inspection: The orator Tula'i sees the old woman Litia, here pronounced /Likia/,
cutting the grass.]15
1 Tula'i: 2 Chief S: 3 Litia: kalofa se ia Likia- 'ua uso pa eempathy Voc Emp Litia Perf rise night Comp
Hey, feel sorry for Litia. (She) got up at dawn to—
'ae- 'ae- 'ae- 'ae kakau nga / / sala
but but but but ought to fine
But, but, but, but she should be fined.
e sese matou i le faimea taeao.
Pres wrong we:ind-pl in Art do-thing morning
We shouldn't be doing things in the morning. This example shows that it is not the occurrence of a particular expression
that defines an utterance as a greeting. Whereas in (1) Chief S uses talofa as
the first pair part of a greeting exchange with Kelesia, in (2) the orator Tula'i
uses talofa as an attempt to draw sympathy for the old woman Litia
(pronounced /Likia/ in line 1) but not to greet her. In fact, the ensuing
interaction with Litia does not contain a greeting. In an apparent response
to the men's comments, Litia's first turn in line 3 is a negative assessment
of her being up and running early in the morning, which could be interpreted as veiled apology.
In his Samoan-English dictionary, G.B. Milner (1966) suggests that talofa
is a compound made out of the words ta 'strike' and alofa 'love, have
compassion'. Ta could also be the first-person singular, positive-affect
pronoun. In this case the long / a a / (spelled a) would be accounted for by
the combination of two consecutive / a / : ta + abfa -» /taalofa/, originally
meaning "(poor) me feels sorry". Although talofa as a greeting does not have
the same meaning of talofa as an expression of empathy and therefore looks
like a good candidate for a word with very little or no prepositional content,
specialized for greetings, its rarity in everyday life makes it an unlikely
candidate as the unmarked greeting in a Samoan speech community.
The MalO Greeting
In my data, this greeting is most commonly used when one party (A)
arrives at a site where the other party (B) already is. It has the structure
given in (3). Universal and Culture-Specific Properties of Greetings (3) Malt-greeting:
nuld (+ intensifier) (+ address + title or name)
n uld (+ intensifier) (+ address + title or name) The word malo has several meanings in Samoan. Its use as an opening
salutation is closely related to its use as a compliment or encouragement to
people who are working or have just finished doing something (see below).16 An example of the malo greeting is provided in (4), from an audiorecording of the "...
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2014 for the course ANTHRO 33 taught by Professor Wertheim during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.
- Spring '08
- The Bible