Whatever greetings accomplish they do it by virtue of

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Unformatted text preview: st the six criteria provided above, we find that it matches only two or perhaps three of the criteria for identifying greetings: (i) It is part of a relatively predictable part of a speech (criterion 4). (ii) It contributes in part to the establishment of a spatiotemporal unit of interaction (to the extent to which it contributes to clarifying the type of encounter in which it occurs) (criterion 5). (iii) It identifies the interlocutors as distinct and yet related beings (criterion 6). But tulounga does not qualify according to the three remaining criteria: (a) It does not occur close to an interactional boundary (criterion 1). Instead, it is used in the middle of a speech. (b) It does not establish a shared perceptual field (criterion 2). Such a field has already been established by a number of other expressions and rituals. (c) It is not in the form of an adjacency pair (criterion 3). There is no immediate or obvious response to the particular section of the speech in which the speaker uses tulounga. Conclusions The analysis of greetings presented here shows that semantic analysis must be integrated with ethnographic information if we want to provide an adequate pragmatic analysis of speech activities within and across speech communities. Whatever greetings accomplish, they do it by virtue of the participants' ability to match routine expressions with particular sociohistorical circumstances. To say that greetings are constituted by formulaic expressions only tells half of the story. The other half is how such formulaic expressions may be adapted to, and at the same time help establish, new contexts. I have argued that we cannot compare greetings across speech communities unless we come up with a universal definition of what constitutes a greeting exchange. After proposing such a universal definition consisting of six criteria, I have shown that the tendency to see greetings as devoid of propositional content or expressing "phatic communion" is too limiting and, in fact, inaccurate. Greetings are, indeed, toward the formulaic end of the formulaic-creative continuum that runs across the full range of communicative acts through which humans manage their everyday life, but they can also communicate new information to participants through the types of questions they ask and the kinds of answers they produce. My analysis of four different types of Samoan greetings offers an empirical corroboration of the six criteria and proposes some new hypotheses about the work that is done during greetings in human encounters. In particular, I have shown the following: Universal and Culture-Specific Properties of Greetings 1. The notion of "greeting substitute" used for English greetings such as "How are you?" may not be extendable to other speech communities. I showed that in Samoan, since no particular greeting can be identified as the most basic or unmarked one, there is no sense in claiming that any of the expressions used in greetings are "greeting subst...
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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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