"In vain I tried to tell you": essays in Native American ethnopoetics
From the Introduction: This book is . . . devoted to the first literature of North America, that of the American Indians, or Native Americans. The texts are from the North Pacific Coast, because that is where I am from, and those are the materials I know best. The purpose is general: All traditional American Indian verbal art requires attention of this kind if we are to comprehend what it is and says. There is linguistics in this book, and that will put some people off. ''Too technical," they will say. Perhaps such people would be amused to know that many linguists will not regard the work as linguistics. "Not theoretical," they will say, meaning not part of a certain school of grammar. And many folklorists and anthropologists are likely to say, "too linguistic" and "too literary" both, whereas professors of literature are likely to say, "anthropological" or "folklore," not "literature" at all. But there is no help for it. As withBeowulfandThe Tale of Genji, the material requires some understanding of a way of life. Within that way of life, it has in part a role that in English can only be called that of "literature." Within that way of life, and now, I hope, within others, it offers some of the rewards and joys of literature. And if linguistics is the study of language, not grammar alone, then the study of these materials adds to what is known about language.
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action actors AGa kwapt beginning Black Bear Boas chapter Chinook texts Chinookan Clackamas Climax contrast Coyote Coyote's culture Curtis daughter Denouement deserted boy discussed elaboration elements English expressive genre girl Gitskux grammar Grizzly Bear Grizzly Woman Haida Hiram Smith Hymes Indian indicates initial particles interpretation Jacobs Kahclamet Kathlamet kiksht killed Kwakiutl language lines linguistic Lizard Louis Simpson Lower Chinook Melville Jacobs meta-narrative Michael Silverstein Miluk mother myth narrative sentences narrator Native American notebook occurs older onset outcome parallel pattern performance perhaps person poem poetry preceding prefix present Rattlesnake reference relation relationship repetition rhetorical role Sahaptin salmon Sapir scene Seal seems segments sequence Silverstein Simpson's text sing Smith's text song speech stanza story structure Takelma tell tion titles told tradition translation verb verbal verse analysis Victoria Howard vowels Wasco Water Bug wife Wishram texts women words younger brother