Lines in Nanti karintaa chants: An areal poetic typological perspective (vol. 7, n. 1, p. 56-64)

Cadernos de Etnolingüística
volume 7, número 1, julho/2019, p. 56-64

Lines in Nanti karintaa chants: An areal poetic typological perspective (An essay in honor of Joel Sherzer)

Lev Michael

This paper argues for a significant typological distinction among lines in indigenous genres of verbal art of the Americas: those which are crucially defined by the size and number of prosodic elements constituting them, and those that are not subject to prosodic restrictions of this type, but are instead delimited by a variety of line edge-marking strategies. I refer to these broad classes of lines as metrical lines and edge-marked lines, respectively. Genres of verbal art studied within the ethnopoetics tradition have mainly focused on those with latter type of line, mirroring an apparent rarity of verbal art genres in the Americas with metrical lines. This paper describes karintaa, a genre of extemporaneous verbal art performed by an Amazonian indigenous group, the Arawakan Nantis of southeastern Peru, which exhibits lines with strict prosodic sizes, and examines the morphological and morpho-phonological strategies that performers employ to satisfy this size requirement. I conclude by observing that while metrical genres of verbal art may be less common in the Americas in comparison to edge-marking genres, such as the Kuna chant genres described by Sherzer, they are clearly to be found.

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