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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Infills: Nouns and Verbs without Lexical Meanings in Somali Oral Poetry
Author:Andrzejewski, B.W.ISNI
Periodical:African Languages and Cultures
Geographic term:Somalia
oral poetry
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1771820
Abstract:Nouns and verbs which have no lexical meaning are frequently encountered by the listener in Somali oral poems. These semantically empty words, or infills, have the formal characteristics of ordinary nouns and verbs, and can be divided into three types: opaque archaisms, unabsorbed loan-words, and words with invented roots. The unwritten code of Somali poetics compels the listener to use his creative imagination and his powers of logical reasoning to cooperate with the poet by filling these semantic blanks in the oral text with meaning by making inferences from the context in which they occur in the poem. Using insights from the deconstructionist approach to the process of literary communication, in particular the emphasis given by that approach to the active and creative role of the reader in the reception of a text, the author looks at the way in which the Somali listener makes inferences from the context, the constraints of alliteration and scansion, the acceptance of infills by the listeners, and the translatability of infills. Bibliogr., notes, ref.