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Environmental and cultural reflections in Kanuri hunters' songs

By Thomas Geider and Raimund Vogels


Our dichotomy of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is expressed in the Kanuri language with the terms al@ga for ‘creation’ and ‘creature’ which embraces trees, mammals, birds, insects, humans, in short the whole of the natural environment, and ada for ‘custom, habit, way of behaviour, family tradition’ for culture as a whole. There is no genre of oral literature, which would describe al@ga as such, but aspects of it can always be expressed in proverbs, riddles, toponymic praise phrases and songs, of which those performed by the hunters figure most prominently in reflecting upon al@ga. Yet, in these songs (and partly in other genres) ideas about al@ga are not purely descriptive in naturalists’ terms. They are much rather expressions, which centrally combine notions of the social and natural environment

Topics: ddc:390
Year: 2006
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