Duranti1997_Greetings

In other words the implication is we should have met

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Unformatted text preview: the predicates used in the first pair part would support this hypothesis. My experience in this community, however, makes me reluctant to accept this hypothesis. Rather, I would favor seeing CGs as the type of greeting exchange that is appropriate for high-ranking individuals who meet in a closed area, which is likely to be the site for further activities also involving or indexing their positional roles. This position is supported by a number of observations. In Western Samoa, I heard high-ranking persons who met on the road, for example, while inside a car, apologize for the improper way in which they find themselves in each other's presence. The expression used is "leanga tatou feiloa'i i le auala" ([too] bad [that] we meet on the road). This expression was explained to me by a person who had just used it to imply that meeting on the road is not the proper way for high-ranking people to come together. In other words, the implication is "we should have met elsewhere." Where? For instance, at someone's house. If such a meeting had taken place, ceremonial greetings would have been exchanged (as well as food and perhaps gifts). This, to me, indicates that for high-ranking Universal and Culture-Specific Properties of Greetings Samoans ceremonial greetings are part of what makes an encounter proper or canonical. The formality or ritualistic nature of the CGs is not a reason for not considering them greetings. For one thing, such formality is quite common in everyday encounters. As documented by Bradd Shore, Margaret Mead, and other ethnographers, Samoans are used to rapidly shifting, within the same setting, from an apparently casual exchange to a much more eloquent one, in which fancy epithets and metaphors are used and individuals get addressed with longer names, inside of longer turns at talk. In other words, CGs are much more routine than we might think and, in fact, statistically much more common than the talofa greeting. In Western Samoa, whenever I went to visit persons of high status, if I entered their house and sat on the floor in the "front region" (see Duranti 1992a, 1994), I would be greeted with a CG. No matter how hard I tried at times to avoid the CG by acting informally and engaging my hosts in conversation, I was rarely able to avoid it. After a few seconds of my arrival, someone would clear his or her voice and start a CG with the usual shifting activity marker ia' 'well, so'. Only kids or young, untitled folks may enter and leave a house without being the target of CGs. Part of this sharp social asymmetry is still at work in the Samoan community in Los Angeles, where young and untitled members of the families I visited are never introduced to me and do not expect to participate in the greeting rituals that in American society often include the youngest children in the family. The "Where Are You Going?" Greeting When two parties, at least one of whom is ostensibly going somewhere, cross one another's visual field of perception...
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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.

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