Duranti1997_Greetings

Then they return to the gathering house where the

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Unformatted text preview: xamples of this delayed greeting is the one described by Sherzer (1983) among the Kuna, where a visiting "chief who has come to the "gathering house" is greeted after he and his entourage ("typically consisting of his wife, his 'spokesman/ and one of his 'policemen/ ") have been taken to someone's house to bathe. Then they return to the "gathering house/' where the visiting "chief" and one of the host village "chiefs," sitting beside one another in hammocks, perform arkan kae (literally handshake), theritualgreeting. [Sherzer 1983:91] Such chanted greetings are quite extended, including a long sequence of verses that are regularly responded to by the other chief, who chants teki 'indeed'. Observationally, this property of greetings is a good index of the function of the greeting and the type of context and participants involved. Immediate and short greetings tend to index an ordinary encounter, whereas delayed and long greetings tend to index something special in the occasion, the social status of the participants, their relationships, or any combination of these various aspects. This idea of greetings as reciprocal recognitions could be an argument in favor of Bach and Harnish's (1979) classification of greetings as "acknowledgments." Greeting would be a response to finding oneself within someone's visual and/or auditory range—if such a person is a candidate for recognition. As we shall see, the view of greetings as acknowledgments does not imply the acceptance of Bach and Harnish's view of greeting as a universal expression of attitudes or feelings. Criterion 3: Adjacency Pair Format Although it is possible to speak of a "greeting" by one person, greetings are typically part of one or more sets of adjacency pairs (see Schegloff and Sacks 1973), that is, two-part sequences in which thefirstpair part by one party (A) invites, constrains, and creates the expectation for a particular type of reply by another party (B); see examples 1, 4, and 6 below. The adjacency pair structure makes sense if greetings are exchanges in which participants test each other's relationship (e.g., Are we still on talking terms? Are we still friends? Do I still recognize your authority? Do I still acknowledge my responsibility toward you?). The sequential format of the adjacency pair allows participants to engage in a joint activity that exhibits some evidence of mutual recognition and mutual understanding. The number, utterance type, and participant structure of these pairs vary both within and across communities (see Duranti 1992a:660-662).8 For example, some African greetings are organized in several adjacency pairs (Irvine 1974). If we take the adjacency pair format to be a defining feature of greetings, a one-pair-part greeting—not as uncommon as one might think—would be "defective" or in need of an explanation. 70 Criterion 4: Relative Predictability Journal of Linguistic Anthropology of Form and Content Since what is said during a greeting or part of a greeting exchange is highly predictable compared to other kinds of interactions, researchers have often assumed that greetings have no propositional content and the...
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