Maniat Laments as Narratives: Forms and Norms of Entextualization

Giaxoglou, (Kyriaki) Korina (2008). Maniat Laments as Narratives: Forms and Norms of Entextualization. PhD thesis King's College London.


This thesis studies Maniat laments as narratives in folkloristic contexts. It focuses on a manuscript collection of Maniat laments which was compiled around 1930-35 by Ioannis Strilakos (a philologist from Gerolimenas, 1911-1949); it also draws on data from ethnographic fieldwork and published collections. Texts from the collection that refer to killings or abductions (sensational laments) have been compiled in a digital corpus following the latest standards in textual encoding in order to facilitate textual analyses. The study proposes an eclectic language-focused approach to verbal art following recent trends in the study of oral poetics (Bauman and Briggs 1990) and narrative analysis (Labov 1997, Ochs and Capps 2001) brought together by critical perspectives on discourse and culture in sociolinguistics (Blommaert 2005). First of all, the analysis identifies an ethnopoetic-narrative patterning and its variations in relation to prototypical structures of oral experience narratives. The identified prototypical structures are viewed along a set of narrativity dimensions which define their conventionalisation and entextualisabilityt on a continuum that encompasses laments performed in both ritual and non-ritual contexts. Secondly, this study explores the way norms of language have been deployed in practices of recording, selecting, editing, transcribing and publishing laments either emphasising their 'canonical' textual shape or adding new meanings through orthopraxies. The latter are illustrated in the hybrid register in which the texts in the manuscript collection have been recorded, pointing to synergies between orality and literacy norms and revealing the complexity of the natural histories of verbal art.

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