Communicating and Commanding

Johannes Fabian

in Out of Our Minds

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780520221222
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923935 | DOI:
Communicating and Commanding

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This chapter discusses practices that, according to present views of ethnography, should make up the core of exploration: Communicating with the people. The sources here contain copious information on the subject, ranging from reports on events and incidents in which communication is a theme to theoretical reflections and methodological recommendations regarding the importance of language. The ability to converse with Africans directly without the help of interpreters was, if not absolutely required, a great advantage in the work of exploration. Modern anthropologists agree on this linguistic imperative. However, most explorers came to their task without linguistic preparation. Many of them acquired their linguistic competences after periods of varying length, during which they communicated with most Africans through interpreters. The chapter also examines grammar and texts, and leading and commanding.

Keywords: ethnography; human communication; exploration; African language; linguistic imperative; African interpreters

Chapter.  9980 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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