Entextualizing vernacular forms in a Maniat village: Features of orthopraxy in local folklore practice

Korina Giaxoglou

Abstract

Language ideology as a field of inquiry (Woolard et al. 1998: 3) involves, among others, the critical analysis of inequalities manifest in discursive and textual practices. This paper deals with folklore practices and language ideologies related to the project for the collection and publication of oral traditions in 1930s Greece. The institutionalization of this project relied heavily on G.Chatzidakis (1890-1923), Professor of Linguistics and N.G. Politis (1852-1921), Professor of Comparative Mythology at the University of Athens whose works arguably created an orthodox model of folklore text-making. Instead, though, of focusing on the orthodox metadiscourse or practices of these two central figures to the project, I will turn to their localization by a philologist engaged in the collection of vernacular forms in a Maniat village (Southern Peloponnese). The turn to local practices seeks to uncover features of orthopraxy (Blommaert 2003), that is adaptations which although guided by the orthodox model at the surface level, can be related to acts of identity, expressing resistance to hegemonic ideologies, revealing inequality in the distribution of resources or in gate-keeping restrictions.The analysis draws on the personal archives of I. Strilakos from the period 1930-35, which include three notebooks and a manuscript collection of Maniat lament verbal art. The approach of the archives is based on the examination of Strilakos’ entextualization practices, a term that refers to the way that textual ‘shape’ is given to extracted stretches of discourse (see Bauman and Briggs 1990). The systematic examination of local folklore entextualization practices sheds light on the mediated ways in which ‘authentic’ voices become indexes of nationally subsumed regional identities.

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