Publication details [#4959]

German, Kathleen. 1998. Figurative language in native American oratory 1609-1912. Cuadernos de Investigación Filológica 9 (1) : 29–40. 12 pp.


In spite of differences in culture, geography, and historical time, figurative language is pervasive and consistent in native American discourse. The article observes the limitations of two traditional explanations for the presence of imagery in Indian oratory, as ornamentation and as memory cuing devices, and provides an alternative explanation. An examination of native American oratory from 1609 through 1912 reveals consistent and elaborate use of figurative language to (1) refer to things, (2) reflect cyclical time, (3) influence the natural order, and (4) witness experience. (LLBA 1999, vol. 33, n. 3)