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Secret ManipulationsLanguage and Context in Africa$
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Anne Storch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199768974

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199768974.001.0001

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(p.133) 5 Sacrilege
Secret Manipulations

Anne Storch

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, the power of the word as a cultural construction is explored. Power as expressed in proverbs but also in stories of the Jukun is dealt with in the chapter's first part, while the second part discusses the political powers of language taboo. Finally, the power of abusive language is demonstrated, whereby inversion in the form of vulgarity works as an instrument of power in a way similar to secrecy. Here, the apparent violation of social norms and taboos by using a specifically manipulated form of language may considerably help strengthen social boundaries insofar as we can equate sacrilege to unmasking, to violating secret boundaries.

Keywords:   sacrilege, sacrifice, suicide, proverb, religion, gender, taboo, epithetic language, Buganda, sugar, poison, vulgar language, obscenity, swear-words, insults

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