The oral and beyond: doing things with words in Africa
With her 1976 book Oral Literature in Africa, Ruth Finnegan almost single-handedly created the field of ethnography of language. Now, Finnegan has gathered and updated a selection of her best work on oral literature, performance, and the creative use of language in Africa, along with several new essays that broaden and extend her ideas.
The Oral and Beyond looks simultaneously backwards and forwards, reviewing and critiquing the achievements of scholarship on African oral literature, revisiting issues of perennial contention, and highlighting some of the most interesting new ideas and approaches in the field. Exploring such fundamental questions as how texts and textuality relate to performance, how ideology inflects language, and how traditional forms adapt to modern media and popular culture, Finnegan essentially crafts an intellectual history of her field. At the same time, she propels the ethnography of language forward, bringing the techniques and knowledge developed through her fieldwork in Africa to bear on issues that transcend African studies and reach into the larger world of anthropology and beyond.
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The Reflective Practice of Speech and Language
How to Do Things with Words
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accepted action African forms African oral literature analysis artistic assumption audience Barber Chapter chief collectors complex concept conceptualisations context conventions creative culture dance Deremu dimensions dub poetry earlier entextualisation epic European example expression Finnegan formal further generalised genres gift greet Hausa hippopotamus human ideophones individual interaction involved kind language Limba language Limba stories Limba story-telling linguistic literary forms Literature in Africa modes narrative narrator nature Ngugi wa Thiong'o non-literate occasion Okpewho oral art oral composition oral forms oral literature oral performance oral poetry oral texts oral-formulaic orature organised palm wine participants particular performative utterances perhaps perspective poems poet practice question realisation recognised role Scheub scholars seemed sense Sierra Leone singers social Somali sometimes songs speaking specific speech spider tale textual thank things with words translation verbal art village voice writing written forms written literature written text Xhosa Yoruba