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Words and Processes in Mambila Kinship

The Theoretical Importance of the Complexity of Everyday Life

David Zeitlyn

Words and Processes in Mambila Kinship presents a set of studies of the way that Mambila speakers in Cameroon talk about themselves and their kin. Author David Zeitlyn employs conversational analytic methods to further the study of kinship terminologies. This book takes an important step toward a new synthesis between the practice of ethnography and the study of language while presenting African natural language data (still rare in mainstream linguistics) in an accessible format. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 256Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-0801-7 • Hardback • December 2004 • $102.00 • (£70.00)
David Zeitlyn is Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Reconstructing Kinship: The Pragmatics of Kin Talk
Chapter 3 The Implicatures of Everyday Life: Mambila Social Deixis
Chapter 4 Asking about People, Not about Kin Terms: An Experiment in Method and Interpretation
Chapter 5 Translation, Anthropology, Kinship
Chapter 6 The Ethnography of a Mambila Conversation
Chapter 7 A Conversation in Somié
Chapter 8 The Distribution of Person-Referring Expressions (PREs) in Natural Conversation
Chapter 9 Summing up Kin Talk
Chapter 10 Conclusion
Zeitlyn has plunged enthusiastically into the domain of cultural instantiation, linking the formal structure of kinship terminologies with the arena of 'person referring conversations.' He brings to the surface a panoply of topics, ranging from the ethnography of a Mambila conversation to the problem of ethnographic translation, and shows us effective ways of integrating rigorous analysis with social and linguistic context. The result is a refreshing approach to kinship that recognizes its roots in past theories as it maps out new territory for future theorizing.
Dwight Read, University of California, Los Angeles