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Unformatted text preview: s "senior orators" (Duranti 1981,
1994). Universal and Culture-Specific Properties of Greetings 79 Table 2
Address forms according to status
lau susunga English translation
'your honor/highness' Social index
<chief or orator> Any of the following combinations were commonly used during CGs and
other formal exchanges in addressing the people holding the Iuli or
• an address form (lau tdfa 'your honor')
• address form + generic title
(lau tdfa + le Matua 'your honor + the senior orator')20
• address form + generic title + name title
(lau tdfa + le Matua + Iuli 'your honor + the senior orator + Iuli' or lau
tdfa + le Matua + Moe'ono 'your honor + the senior orator + Moe'ono').
If a person has a matai title, the name given at birth (called ingoa taule'ale'a
'untitled name') will not be used in the CG. Only those who do not have a
matai title—such as pastors, some government officials, and foreigners—might be greeted with the address form followed by the birth name.
For example, a pastor whose untitled name is Mareko would be addressed
as "lau susunga Mareko" (your honorable Mareko). In this case, the proper
name replaces the "name title." If a person does not have a matai title and
does not hold a religious or administrative office and his name is not known
to the welcoming party, a title must be found for the CG to be complete.
The title may be borrowed from someone else in the family. (E.g., he might
be greeted as if he were a titled person to whom he is related; this is a
convention used with untitled people when they perform ceremonial roles
on behalf of their family, village, or religious congregation.) Other times,
an ad hoc "title" is created on the spot based on whatever information about
the newcomer is contextually available. For example, people who did not
know me personally often referred to me as "the guest from abroad" (le maid
mai ifafo). If they saw me filming, I became "the cameraman": le ali'i pu'e
ata, lit. 'the (gentle)man (who) takes pictures'.
The adjacency pair structure of the CGs is hard to perceive at first, and
these greetings are particularly hard to transcribe because they are typically
performed by several people at once and never in unison. This means that
the speech of the different participants typically overlaps and interlocks,
producing a nonchanted fugue (Duranti 1997b). Here is an example from a
meeting of the village council (fono). One of the two senior orators in the
village, Moe'ono, has just arrived and gone to sit in the front part of the
house. The orator Falefa, who is the village "mayor" (pulenu'u) and whose 80 Journal of Linguistic Anthropology house is being used for the meeting, initiates the greeting and is followed
by a few other members of the council. (I have here slightly simplified the
transcript for expository reasons.)
(11) [Monday Fono, August 1988; ceremonial greeting of senior orator Moe'ono...
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