Accepted Paper:

Interruption and enumeration: rhythm, gesture and tone in Northern Kurdish.  


Alex Pillen (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

This paper questions the orchestration of verbal style across speech genres in Northern Kurdish: from challenges to a turn-taking system in conversation, to narrative flight and enumeration in rhetorical speech.

Paper long abstract:

The orchestration of turns in conversation may usurp the autonomy of interlocutors. Notable examples in the ethnographic literature are John Haviland's work on Tzotzil argumentation and Judith Scheele's observation of Tubu conversation in Northern Chad. In this paper, I depict an image of conversational freedom and interruptions in Northern Kurdish (Kurmanci). Against this backdrop, I sketch an image of Kurdish rhetoric, notable elements of authoritative speech and leadership. Recent work by Nick Harkness is a source of inspiration for this analysis of the gestural and rhythmic aspects of enumeration in Kurdish. Building upon Brian Silverstein's research on Islam and modernity in Turkey, I study the historic legacy of verbal festivity in Arabic, and Persian rhetorical figures, to explore their role in the orchestration of Kurdish figures of speech.

Panel Lang01
Semiosis as orchestration