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The concept of taboo in Raga, Vanuatu: semantic mapping and etymology

Duhamel, Marie-France (2021) The concept of taboo in Raga, Vanuatu: semantic mapping and etymology. Oceania, 91 (1). pp. 26-46. ISSN 0029-8077

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This article discusses the two terms that convey the concept of taboo in Raga, the language of north-central Vanuatu originally spoken in north Pentecost, and provides linguistic evidence expanding on the information published previously by the anthropologists Masanori Yoshioka and John Patrick Taylor. Based on the corpus collected in north Pentecost in the period 2015-2017, and on older ethnographic and religious written material, a semantic map is proposed for the two taboo-related Raga terms: sabuga and gogona. Reviewing the terms that designate the concept of ‘taboo’ in the neighbouring languages, the study also explores the possibility of borrowing and semantic interference from other languages, and proposes that sabuga is a reflex of Proto Oceanic *tabu, albeit an irregular reflex, and gogona a reflex of Proto North and Central Vanuatu*kona ‘sacred, taboo’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: This paper was an output from a workshop on tabu held at the Australian National University as part of the ARC-funded project 'Waves of Words: Mapping and Modelling Australia's Pacific Past' (DP180100893).
Uncontrolled Keywords: taboo, *tabu, semantics, semantic map, Vanuatu, Pentecost, Raga
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE)
Depositing User: Marie-France Duhamel
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 23:03
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 23:03

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