BARBARA KEREWSKY-HALPERN T e x t a n d C o n t e x t in Serbian R i t u a l L a m e n t In this anthropologically based consideration o f ritual lament as part o f the repertoire o f oral genres in a contemporary "traditional" oral culture, concern is with context as much as with text, with function, with how people communicate in a given social situation. Termed socially constituted linguis- tics, such an approach to language use is known formally as the ethnography o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n 1 The anthropologist Leach has written that "Ritual as one observes it . . . is a complex o f words and actions . . . it is not the case that words are one thing and rite another. The uttering o f the words itself is a ritual."2 His dictum is particularly relevant to a study o f lament, for in funerary rites and other ritually prescribed memorial rites in many areas in the Balkans, speech and, within it, the act o f lamenting serve a vital function in maintaining
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1981
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