The healing words of the Ayoreo

Ciucci, Luca (2022) The healing words of the Ayoreo. In: Storch, Anne, and Dixon, R.M.W., (eds.) The Art of Language. Brill's Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture, 32 . Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 251-267.

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This chapter deals with the intersection between language and traditional medicine of the Ayoreo, an Indigenous population of the Boreal Chaco in South America. In traditional Ayoreo culture, the word itself can exert magic power on reality, and this manifests itself in the taboo characters of myths and magic formulas. The latter are called sarode and are used for healing purposes. They are also taboo, so that it is hard to document them. Although nowadays fewer people know sarode, they are still used, and co-exist with modern medicine, which is not always available in many isolated communities. When the Ayoreo have been contacted, they have always paid a high death toll owing to diseases for which they did not have antibodies. This situation continues for the few Ayoreo who are still uncontacted. Past epidemics caused by contact have left traces in Ayoreo culture: I will show how a new magic formula to heal diseases brought by Western people originated after contact with Jesuits in the 18th century..

Item ID: 71128
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-90-04-51039-5
Keywords: Ayoreo, Zamucoan, spells, traditional medicine
Copyright Information: © Luca Ciucci, 2022. Copyright 2022 by Anne Storch and R.M.W. Dixon. Published by Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Sensitivity Note: It would be better to keep this work confidential until it is published, for reasons I have explained below.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2022 21:30
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470407 Language documentation and description @ 30%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470411 Sociolinguistics @ 35%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470499 Linguistics not elsewhere classified @ 35%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture @ 100%
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