Traversing language barriers: 'Witoto' signal drums from Northwest Amazonia

Wojtylak, Katarzyna I. (2019) Traversing language barriers: 'Witoto' signal drums from Northwest Amazonia. International Journal of Language and Culture, 6 (1). pp. 196-217.

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The 'Witoto' people from Northwest Amazonia practised long distance drum communication, used for relying messages among their villages. The messages were encoded on a pair of hollowed-out wooden drums, and appear to have been 'drummed codes', with only some iconic relation to the sound structure of the spoken language. The practice of drum communication appears to be easily diffusible in contact situations. The Caquetá-Putumayo (C-P) cultural area is a case in point, as the Witoto drums were shared with other C-P groups including the Ocaina, Nonuya, Bora, Muinane, Resígaro, and Andoque. Today, the practice of long distance drum communication among the Witoto has been long gone, with just a handful of elders who are still able to recall some of (once extensive) drummed signal repertoire.

Item ID: 53010
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2214-3165
Keywords: Caquetá-Putumayo, drummed messages, hummed messages, manguaré, Murui-Muina, People of the Centre, signal drums, Witoto
Copyright Information: © John Benjamins Publishing Company. This article is under copyright and the publisher should be contacted for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form.
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2018 00:37
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470411 Sociolinguistics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 80%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950506 Understanding the Past of the Americas @ 20%
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