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A Battle of Languages: Spirit Possession and Changing Linguistic Ideologies in a Sepik Society, Papua New Guinea

Hoenigman, Darja

Description

In October 2009, a dramatic event shook the existing sociolinguistic setting in Kanjimei village in East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Possessed by a Christian spirit, a woman harshly reproached the most important village leaders. The ensuing verbal fight between 'the spirit' and the village prayer leader became a battle of languages: the Christian spirit spoke the community's native language, Awiakay, overpowering those in authority, who are the most frequent users of the national lingua...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHoenigman, Darja
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-08T22:37:46Z
dc.identifier.issn1035-8811
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/35654
dc.description.abstractIn October 2009, a dramatic event shook the existing sociolinguistic setting in Kanjimei village in East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Possessed by a Christian spirit, a woman harshly reproached the most important village leaders. The ensuing verbal fight between 'the spirit' and the village prayer leader became a battle of languages: the Christian spirit spoke the community's native language, Awiakay, overpowering those in authority, who are the most frequent users of the national lingua franca Tok Pisin. As it was believed that it was the spirit of the Virgin Mary who channelled herself through the possessed woman, it was legitimate for people to discuss her words. The spirit possession thus enabled the otherwise condemned social practices: gossip and public criticism, which have the power of changing existing power relations in the village. The analysis of this event shows the complexity behind the ever-changing linguistic ideologies.
dc.publisherAustralian Anthropological Society Inc
dc.sourceAustralian Journal of Anthropology, The
dc.subjectKeywords: Code-switching; Papua new guinea; Spirit possession
dc.titleA Battle of Languages: Spirit Possession and Changing Linguistic Ideologies in a Sepik Society, Papua New Guinea
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume23
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor200406 - Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
local.identifier.ariespublicationu9910377xPUB126
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationHoenigman, Darja, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue3
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage290
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage317
local.identifier.doi10.1111/taja.12002
local.identifier.absseo950202 - Languages and Literacy
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T12:13:52Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84871566672
local.identifier.thomsonID000314511600003
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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