Parallelism and Orders of Signification (Parallelism Dynamics I)

This essay sets out an approach to parallelism in verbal art as a semiotic phenomenon that can operate at multiple orders (or levels) of signification. It examines parallelism in the sounds through which words are communicated, in language communicated by those sounds, in symbols or minimal units of narration communicated through language, and then in […]

“Said a Word, Uttered Thus”: Structures and Functions of Parallelism in Arhippa Perttunen’s Poems

Verse parallelism is one of the most distinctive features of a Finnic tradition of oral poetry, which is called “kalevalaic poetry” in Finland or “regilaul” in Estonia. This essay presents grammatical and semantic principles and patterns according to which parallel verses are composed, and introduces a statistical analysis of parallelism in the repertoire of one […]

Parallelism in the Hanvueng: A Zhuang Verse Epic from West-Central Guangxi in Southern China

Zhuang is a Tai-Kadai language spoken in southern China. Parallelism is ubiquitous in Zhuang poetry and song,in ritual texts, and in a range of oral genres. Curiously, this salient fact has generally escaped the notice of scholars writing on the subject of Zhuang poetics. This article looks specifically at the phenomenon of parallelism in one […]

Parallelism and Musical Structures in Ingrian and Karelian Oral Poetry

Listening to historical oral poetry usually means listening to archival sound recordings with no possibility to ask questions or compare performances by one singer in different performance arenas. Yet, when a greater number of recordings from different singers and by different collectors is available, the comparison of these performances has the potential to reveal some […]

Parallelism and the Composition of Oral Narratives in Banda Eli

While parallelism is easily recognizable as the source for various literary tropes, it is also important as a resource for the speakers’ dialogic engagement with the patterns of interaction and experience: they embody part of their linguistic habitus. This article explores the forms of parallelism found in a variety of speech and narrative genres in […]

“The Language of Gods”: The Pragmatics of Bilingual Parallelism in Ritual Ch’orti’ Maya Discourse

In this study I investigate the discursive function of parallelism in the ritual speech of Ch’orti’ Maya. Specifically, I examine the exploitation of the dual lexicons of Ch’orti’ Mayan and Spanish in the production of parallel structures. Ch’orti’ ritual speech is almost universally constructed in parallelistic fashion, accomplishing at once a near hypnotic cadence when […]

“Word upon a Word”: Parallelism, Meaning, and Emergent Structure in Kalevala-meter Poetry

This essay treats parallelism as a means for articulating and communicating meaning in performance. Rather than a merely stylistic and structural marker, parallelism is discussed as an expressive and cognitive strategy for the elaboration of notions and cognitive categories that are vital in the culture and central for the individual performers. The essay is based […]

Remembering and Recreating Origins: The Transformation of a Tradition of Canonical Parallelism among the Rotenese of Eastern Indonesia

This paper examines and illustrates key oral traditions of canonical parallelism among the Rotenese of eastern Indonesia. The Rotenese are concerned with maintaining a knowledge of origins and the poets who perpetuate this knowledge are known for their ability to recount long chants that reveal these origins. On Rote, a traditional ritual canon of origins […]